We asked our Facebook and Twitter friends to tell all of us what they do to prepare pets for fireworks displays. The responses were so helpful that we want to share them with our readers. We are not recommending any of these remedies. You have to use your discretion and do what you think works best for your pets. But people have certainly found some creative and comforting solutions.
Since I am a behavior consultant I’ve outlined a variety of tips for last minute and long term planned strategies in two different articles here: http://budurl.com/SafeSanePetsJuly4th or
–Diana L. Guerrero
How To Keep Pets Safe During Fireworks or Thunderstorms http://blog.animalcommunicating.com/?p=846
–Karen Anderson, Animal Communicator
One of the biggest mistakes pet owners do is “reassure” their pet with soft talk and cuddling. This only reinforces their fear! I’ve always conditioned my dogs to not have fear of loud noises like thunder and fireworks by remaining calm around them and having treats available to reward them so as soon as they hear the sound they associate it with a treat. This is positive reinforcement. never used “coddling” to reassure them, as in this case, is a negative reinforcement.
As a former animal control officer, I always requested that the city post a reminder on the water bills for everyone in the city that our 4th of July impounds were about 30 percent higher than the average day. I advised people to make sure, especially if they were not going to be home, that they secure their animals. I personally use Quiet Moments for my dogs, a herbal sedative available at Petco.
–Shawn Pendell Green
My Clancy is a little Yorkie, and I’ve actually had him with me in a carrier while observing fireworks outside. Of course I never exposed him to excess noise levels by being right up close! But by exposing him to fireworks from when he was a pup, he is oblivious to the noise.
I don’t really go out much, so I will be home. I turn up the fans to high and put on music or a movie and sit with my bunnies, if a close noise is loud, and they get scared. I work at the racetrack, and that is an even harder task to keep the horses calm. You just have to keep an eye on them, close their bottom doors, make sure they have hay to try and occupy them. I don’t like the Fourth for that reason, too many locals with cheap, noisy fireworks.
One of us stays home and talks to her and keeps her calm.
–John P. Andolina Jr.
Mine hides in the shower!
It’s not easy. Our golden is terrified, but we just keep talking and praising him and of course petting him at all times!
Keep them inside and turn the TV or radio up and talk to them in a soft voice. Let them know it’s okay, and you are there to protect them.
I usually go and hang out with them, give them carrots, and reassure them by talking and explaining what is going on in my horse-talk/whisper way. Since having horses, I don’t really go watch fireworks anymore because of this. My mare is used to the noise and she’s bombproof anyway, but my rescued/adopted ex-racehorse, being a Thoroughbred, isn’t as comfortable, although last year he was okay.
My two Jack Russells have no problems with noise of either fireworks or thunder, but my dear “T” who has crossed The Bridge suffered terribly. We found that giving him 25mg of melatonin at least two hours before the noise started, GREATLY alleviated his distress. This medication is available over-the-counter with no prescription. It is a naturally occurring substance and not a drug. Consequently it does not make them “doped up” or have any of the usual tranquilizer side effects.
When we lived in the city, we kept the doors and windows shut and I sat on the floor with my two dogs. Same for Halloween and New Year’s Eve.
Daisy paces incessantly when they start. Usually I turn on the air and she does very well. Poor girl.
Your vet will prescribe a sedative without any questions and trust me it really helps.
HomeoPet TFLN Anxiety is a homeopathic remedy for relief from fear of: thunderstorms, fireworks, loud noises, and windstorms. It is a natural, non-sedating, tasteless liquid that really helps my mom’s dog cope with thunderstorms.
When my Pom, Hayley, was alive, we had to get the canine version of Xanax for her. One 4th, we came home to find her hiding in the bathtub and she had pooped EVERYWHERE in it! Not sure how my current dogs handle it, though I think they both sleep through it, if we’re sleeping.
–Jennifer Dunn Walsdorf
Homeopathic Gelsemium is a safe and gentle way to reduce the severity of any fireworks-induced anxiety. Whatever potency you can get will be fine from 6x to 30c. You will be amazed. It also works for trips to the vet or when they know you’ll be gone for a long while.
–Robert Scott Bell
In my neighborhood we keep our pets indoors. My cats are indoors only and still get frightened. I pet them and reassure them that everything is okay. One cat has been scared of thunder and always ran and hid under the bed. He has gradually lost most of his fear at loud noises and starts to run but stops and looks back at me as if to say, “Should I run or stay?” The petting and assurance works fairly well. Frankly, sudden, loud noises make me jump, too!
I’ve never attended public fireworks and festivities, because it seems no matter where we’ve lived there are always neighborhood lunatics who set off what seem to be bombs. It scares the dogs so much, and I’d like to think they feel better with me here. I’m watching my mom’s dog this week and he is very, very uncomfortable.
What do you do to prepare your pets for fireworks?