Independence Day is this weekend, which means one thing for pet owners: Anxious dogs and cats. Fireworks tend to freak animals out (can you blame them?). The good news is there are some steps you can take to help keep your pets calm during fireworks, and we’re sharing them here. (Bonus: Many of these tips also work for pets’ other worst enemy — thunderstorms!)
Exercise Your Pet
One of the best ways to keep your pets calm during fireworks is to exhaust them before the first “boom.” Take your pup for a long walk or run during the day or early evening. That way, by the time the sun goes down, your pooch will be pooped. If you have a fearful cat, squeeze in a good play session before the fireworks begin. Your pets may not sleep through the loud noises, but if they’re exhausted, they’ll likely be less anxious.
Provide a Distraction
Providing a distraction for your pets is another way to help keep them calm. For dogs, load up on chew toys, which distract anxious dogs from their anxiety. Some options include rawhides, plush toys, or rubber chew toys. Better yet, consider getting a “strategy toy” for your dog or cat. These toys hold some treats in the center and provide a little “game” for your pet as he or she must work to reach the reward.
Give Your Pet a Safe Space
Dogs and cats seek shelter when they’re afraid. Before fireworks begin, be sure to have a “safe space” ready for your pet. This could be your dog’s crate, or it could be as simple as wrapping your dog up in a blanket, “burrito-style.” A simple cardboard box will typically do just fine for fearful cats who seek a hiding spot. Add some blankets to make it extra comfy for your fearful feline.
Comfort Them with Your Touch
Harness the power of touch to help keep your pets calm during fireworks. Massaging your cat or dog may help relieve their anxiety. In general, petting your pet with gentle, long strokes should help them calm down. There are also more specific massage techniques you can try out with your pet. Learn more about pet massage here.
Consider Additional Help
For extra anxious pets, consider using some outside help. This could be in the form of a natural calming supplement, such as chamomile or herbal pills for pets. Another option that’s been growing in popularity recently is pet-friendly CBD. Just like with humans, CBD can help calm your pets’ nervous system and ease their stress. It may even help your pet drift off to sleep. Learn more about how CBD can help your dog here.
When dogs are anxious, they tend to pant a lot. This can lead to dehydration. Be sure to provide your dog with lots of water so that they stay hydrated if they become overly anxious.
It’s not just the noises that can scare animals — the sight of fireworks can cause anxiety, too. If you live close enough to see fireworks from your window, it’s a good idea to close your curtains to help keep your pets feeling safe and secure.