#ASKAVET Roundup: How to Keep Pets Calm During Thunder and Fireworks

Thank you to those who participated in Wednesday evening’s #ASKAVET live Facebook event! We are seeing a trend in pet owners seeking solutions for pets that suffer from fear, owner/pet separation and overall behavior problems resulting from stress-induced situations. For those of you pet owners out there who have pets that are afraid of thunder and fireworks — heck, it could be any loud, startling noises to be honest — these times are not fun for either you or your pet. You know exactly what I’m talking about: your usually confident, happy-go-lucky pet begins acting like a scaredy cat (or dog) and hiding in a corner of the basement with a terrified look on their sweet face. Maybe some of you even have pets that misbehave in these situations because they’re scared and anxious.

Here are some tips to help keep them calm during loud, startling events, but for severe cases, you will need to get some sedatives from your vet.

  • Bring outside pets inside, or put them in a garage or basement during the fireworks (but make sure there are no toxins within reach).
  • Use music, toys or television as a distraction. Keep your pets in the quietest room of your home during the fireworks. Some pets stay calm when they are in a pet crate or in a darkened, quiet room. A toy filled with treats that they have to work at for hours as a reward is a great way to keep their mind off the noise!
  • Make sure your pet has identification such as license, tag or microchip. Pets with an ID have a much greater chance of being returned home!
  • Use the power of pheromones: pheromones are chemical messengers that mother dogs and cats use to calm their puppies and kittens. Calming collars mimic this pheromone and are scientifically proven to help reduce or eliminate bad behaviors proved by stress-related situations. Put one on your dog or cat to reduce the stress and anxiety that dogs experience on holidays like the quickly approaching New Year’s Eve holiday! You can also try using a calming diffuser to make a bedroom or basement your pet’s safe haven.
  • Xanax, anyone? Talk to your veterinarian well ahead of time about safe sedation to use with your pet (older pets and those with medical conditions may not be able to be sedated safely). The day before an anticipated fireworks display is no time to be searching for a sedative!
  • When you assume, you… Don’t assume things are safe this year just because your pet hasn’t had problems in the past. Some pets will change their habits as they age.
  • When all is lost: If your pet is lost, check all local shelters, check back often and check online. It may take some time before spooked pets are brought to shelters. Call local veterinary ERs and check the local online newspaper and Craigslist.

I hope that these tips work for your pet! Have you tried something else to help keep them calm that I didn’t list?

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