Is your dog or cat afraid of fireworks? Here are 11 tips to help your pet during summer in SC

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Is your pet afraid of fireworks?

For many, the first few weeks of summer bring happy memories of late nights in the harbor, back seats of the family car or sitting on blankets at the beach watching fireworks. While the nation’s pastime may be fun for people, it may not be for most pets.

With Fourth of July just around the corner, it’s important to know the best ways to help your pet cope with the loud explosions this holiday brings. Helping your cat or dog by reducing their fireworks anxiety can help make for a worry-free summer.

Here are seven ways to help your dog stay calm through the booming celebrations leading up to the Fourth of July.

1. Close windows and curtains. By closing windows and curtains, this muffles any noises or bright, flashing lights that may spook your pets. Additionally, providing them a safe room with a closed door and comfort items may help to lessen the anxiety derived from the nearby fireworks displays.

2. Try an anxiety vest for dogs. Similar to swaddling a baby, applying pressure in the form of an anxiety vest can help minimize the amount of stress your furry friend may be feeling during a fireworks display.

“Get your dog used to wearing a pressure wrap — like a dog anxiety vest — before fireworks so that by the time the event arrives, your dog will be comfortable with the garment. You can either make your own by wrapping stretchy fabric around your dog’s shoulders and chest (make sure it’s not so tight that it restricts blood flow or the ability to breathe) or opt for a ThunderShirt that uses a patented “hugging” design to help reduce stress from dog fireworks anxiety,” according to PetMD.

3. Turn on the television or radio. This simple step helps alleviate a pet’s fear of hearing the singular, distinct noise of fireworks. A secondary set of sounds that the television or music can provide is a good distraction from the booms coming from outside and can mask any loud noises. This trick is also good for traveling away from home if your pet tends to be skittish in new places or around unfamiliar people.

4. Ignore the firecracker sounds. By ignoring the firecracker sounds yourself, it may act as a placebo so your pet isn’t worried. If they don’t see you worried, they might not be. Try grabbing a toy and see if they want to play with you. This may serve as a helpful distraction.

“That means you. Dogs and cats are incredibly intuitive. They can sense and empathize with your fear and anxiety and adopt those feelings for themselves. Take a deep breath, be a comforting and calm pet parent, and your best pal will likely follow suit,” according to Blue Buffalo, a popular dog food company.

5. Medications or pheromones can alleviate anxiety. For dogs, pheromone diffusers or a variety of different anxiety-reducing treats may help with their stress during these summer light and sound shows. Talk with your vet about the best and safest options for your dog.

6. Use a microchip. A microchip can be helpful in case your furry friend gets loose during the fireworks finale. They may continue to run or hide and a microchip can help them be returned home in the event they become lost.

7. Try conditioning your dog in advance. Conditioning your dog to pet-friendly patio restaurants with lots of noise, outdoor concerts, or areas near distant fireworks or booming noises may ease them into the sounds of firework displays.

“You may actually be able to train your pal to tolerate the noise. Gradually exposing your dog or cat to loud, startling sounds may mitigate their anxiety and fear when pyrotechnics occur later in their lives.”, according to Blue Buffalo.

For cats, here are four of the best ways to help them cope with fireworks this year.

1. Provide cats with places to hide. Giving your cat a place to hide can help give them a space to calm down and alleviate stress from the flashes of bright light and loud noises. If they decide to hide, allow them to stay in their chosen hiding spot as long as it’s safe. Letting them feel safe and hidden will help reduce anxiety, whereas forcing them out of their hiding spot will increase anxiety and agitation.

2. Consider keeping pets inside. Even if they tend to be an outdoor pet, being inside may help keep cats calm and feel safer during the light and sound displays happening outside.

3. Debate using a microchip. A good idea for both cats, as well as dogs, a microchip can come in handy in case they get startled and escape during the show.

4. Distract your cat with toys and games. If your cat isn’t in the hiding mood, keeping music or the television on can pose as a good distraction while you find some toys to distract your little friend with.

“Cats love to play and hunt. If you’re feeling creative, create a fun kitty “treasure hunt” with small dishes around the house. If you (or they) aren’t up for a game, try a new toy. If your cat responds well to catnip, that’s another option,” according to The Dog People, powered by Rover.com.

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