Is Your Cat or Dog Afraid of Fireworks?
Pets can exhibit a wide range of symptoms when they are stressed. If your cat or dog does any of the following during or following sudden, loud noises, it’s possible they are showing signs of anxiety:
- Excessive barking or meowing
How to Calm an Anxious Pet
Just like people, cats and dogs have varying degrees of anxiety when it comes to stressful events. For mild cases, your pet might need a few loving pets and reassurance. But if your furry friend is more than a little anxious, here are some things you can do before, during and after fireworks to help put them at ease.
Sometimes the best way to beat stress is to work it out. On the day of a fireworks show, make sure your pet gets a good amount of exercise. While sticking to their regular walk or playtime schedule as much as possible, spend some extra time walking, jogging, playing fetch or keep away. Not only does exercise make your pet more tired, and potentially less responsive to disruptive noises, but also exercise naturally increases levels of the hormone serotonin, which can act as a sedative.
2. Create a Safe Space
Whether you’re at home with your pets, or you leave them at home during the fireworks show, make sure they have a safe place to retreat. Ideally, your cat or dog’s sanctuary should be a quiet room that blocks noise. The basement or a bathroom with no windows are great options. White noise, such as a box fan or TV, can also distract your pet from fireworks pops and crackles.
Your pet might prefer to seek out small, enclosed spaces when they are anxious. Keep your pet’s carrier or crate in the room if they need somewhere to curl up. Make the space extra comfortable by placing their bed or blankets inside, as well as a favorite toy or treat.
3. Compression Therapy
Like swaddling a baby with a blanket, stressed pets can benefit from compression therapy. Help your dog or cat feel comforted by fitting them with a snug wrap. A snug wrap applies gentle, maintained pressure to their torso, which has been shown to help relax both animals and humans. Think of it like a long hug. Make sure the bandage is sized appropriately for your pet.
Follow these steps to make a DIY compression vest:
Step 1: Place the middle of the cloth across your pet’s chest.
Step 2: Pull both ends of the bandage over their shoulders, crossing the ends over their shoulder blades. The bandage should fit snug on their torso, but not too tight.
Step 3: Cross the ends again, but this time, cross them under your pet’s tummy.
Step 4: Bring the loose ends of the bandage up again, tying over the top of their back (away from the spine).
In extreme cases, your cat or dog might require anxiety medication, such as calming aids or sedatives, to help them relax. There are many natural, over-the-counter remedies for pet stress and anxiety. Your dog or cat’s veterinarian might also prescribe them a sedative.
It’s important to note that medication should be used sparingly, so that your pet does not become dependent on medication to calm down. Talk with your veterinarian to see if calming aids or sedative medication is the right solution for your pet’s anxiety.
5. Visit Your Vet
Cats and dogs can show signs of stress due to an underlying medical problem. That’s why regular visits to your veterinarian are so important. As you prepare for a fireworks event, take your cat or dog to the vet to rule out any medical-related issues that might be causing them extra stress.