Keeping Pets Calm on July 4

With the first fire cracker pop, there are many pets that run and hide - and not come out until after the Fourth of July. It can be a very upsetting time for our animals who do not understand what is happening – We are celebrating our country and our pets feel like the country is being invaded! A 9 year old dog could spend up to 4 days in a closet if we don't take the right steps to deter her anxious response.

Here are some tips for keeping your pets calm during the explosive weekend:
  • They don’t appreciate fireworks! Keep them inside with music and stay calm around them. Yelling at them only reaffirms their thinking that bad things are happening.
  • Deter their attention to something they like replacing noise with positive. Find their favorite toy that they only get when there is an issue. We use a KONG® toys with peanut butter in it. This can keep them busy for hours and will get them through the booms and bangs that happen nightly. Give it to them when the noise starts.
  • Use calming agents that support your effort. Doc Roy's® DOCILE DOG is naturally formulated to calm the anxious dog. Double the dose for two days, and then give them the normal dose until July 6th. Calming pheromone products like Farnam® Comfort Zone® Diffuser with D.A.P.® for dogs or Farnam® Comfort Zone® Diffuser with Feliway® for cats are also popular calming products. These calming products help maintain normal behavior, avoiding tranquilizers so your pet learns to deal with the noise.
  • The ThunderShirt is new and is just short of a miracle. They work by occupying nerve endings to calm the pet. Think of it as a reassuring hug from your dad when you were little and scared. It just doesn't seem so bad afterward!

It does work and keeping your dogs and cats calm is worth the effort. Many animals that are scared of fireworks will eventually transfer that anxiety to thunderstorms if they haven’t already. If your animal is scared of storms, you can treat them the same way as above. Similar techniques are used for separation anxiety to keep them calm when you leave.

With time they learn to tolerate the storms and fireworks, as long as we stayed calm with them. In 2010, our dogs did not like July 4th, but with the above tips, they survived. In 2011, after the loud bangs, they would just look up with concern, but with calm reassurance, they would go right back to getting the peanut butter out of their KONG toys. With a little planning, your dog will do the same.

Happy July 4th!

If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.

-Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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