As we approach the July 4th celebrations, we should be aware of how our animals might react to this noise and commotion. Not only is a dog’s hearing extremely sensitive, the noises they hear can come at the most unexpected times. You expect fireworks on holidays like the Fourth of July, but your dog or cat doesn’t. Those firecrackers come without warning. The loud noises and flashing lights sound and look different each time. Plus, they come at different intervals, so dogs can’t get used to them.
When an animal is startled by loud noise, it may not just pant or whine; unfortunately, the frightened animal feels trapped and may seek to escape the blast. The fireworks sales have begun in earnest, resulting in neighborhood fireworks. The public displays are usually far enough away, so those blasts are a distant sound. However, thoughtless neighbors setting off bottle rockets not only create problems for our animals, they can cause fires.
Since we are unlikely to totally avoid all July 4th holiday “excitement”, we must take some steps which ensure our animals are safe and comfortable. These same interventions can be utilized during our summer monsoon storms when wind, thunder, and lightening can create the same reaction.
Try these steps to make your dog (or cat) feel safe and secure:
- Keep Pets Inside: bring animals inside during firework displays. Avoid taking dogs along to fireworks. This will prevent them from running away if they feel scared, which can puts them in danger. This can be one of the busiest days of the year for Animal Control.
- Create a Safe Place: If your pet is crate-trained, make this crate available, as that’s probably already the safest space for him. Another alternative is putting him in a bathroom or other small room with music or a television on. This will help drown out the boom of fireworks. Bringing his bed, blankets and toys into the room can make him feel more comfortable. This safe space should always be available to pets.
- Use a Calming Wrap: Calming wraps, vests and shirts apply light, constant pressure. Many dogs find this soothing and calming. You may find such products help in other anxiety-inducing situations, too. A lightweight pet sweater can also provide this calming pressure. Add a drop or two of lavender to the wrap for additional calming or use a pheromone diffuser.
- Desensitize: Start working with your pet far enough in advance to desensitize him to fireworks and other loud noises. You can start this process by using loud sounds on a low level while playing with your pet and giving him treats. Over time, slowly increase the loud sounds during these play sessions. Eventually, the animal will associate noise with pleasant experiences.
- Veterinary Advice: If you have an animal that is easily upset, consult with your veterinarian to get some suggestions. Some pets require medical interventions to soothe anxiety.
Your animals take their cues from you, so be aware of how much you influence their behaviors. When you remain calm, your pets will be less anxious. Take time to make summer holidays enjoyable for everyone.
The Town of Parker/La Paz County shelter is located at 309 7th street, behind Western Park. Hours are Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday 10 to 12-noon. Call 669-8774 for details. To find lost pets, view animals or post animals found visit our Facebook page PAWS of Parker.