Summer - it's time for the sun, backyard grill-outs, pool parties, and fireworks! But those bangs can be scary for our pets - so here are some tips for calming our nervous friends when the thunder starts crashing or the fireworks start booming. Here's what you can do to keep your furry friend more comfortable.
Signs of a nervous pet:
Pets who are anxious because of a storm or fireworks display may have mild to severe symptoms. They can be extra clingy and stay by your side, or you may see hiding and trembling. Nervous pets may pant, pace, urinate or defecate, drool, or become destructive to furniture or objects if left alone.
Give them space
Provide a hideaway, preferably without windows and away from exterior walls. Bathrooms, closets, and basements are often soothing locations. Your pup may want to shelter in the bathtub, and kitty may find under the bed to be her place of refuge.
Start up the music
Playing music indoors can mask the sound of thunder or fireworks and make the loud noises less startling.
Dampen the noise
You can put cotton balls in your dog's or cat's ears to muffle the sound of thunder or fireworks. Dog caps, ear muffs, and headphones are also available and may help make the noises less loud.
A tight jacket like a thundershirt can give your pet a constant hug feeling and helps through pressure points. Foods and supplements that decrease anxiety and promote calm responses can work wonders for fearful pets. These will usually work better if given daily, so are best started several weeks to a month before the scary event.
Medicate if necessary
Some pets require more help than you can give at home. Pets who are shaking, urinating or defecating in the house, or are unable to eat or rest require stronger medications to decrease the fear and terror. This is important to make future episodes less scary, because fears can build over time and can lead to destructive behavior if not modified. These prescriptions include medications like Sileo, alprazolam or diazepam, gabapentin, and trazodone. We will decide together which is best for your particular pet.