Techniques to Calm Fireworks Phobias

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It’s almost New Year’s Eve! If your dog or cat has a fear of fireworks, you’ll need to do a little special planning to keep your pet calm on the big night. Animal shelters see a drastic rise in pets picked up on any holiday celebrated with a fireworks show. Here are some tips and products to help keep your dog or cat safe and comfy.

The Fight or Flight Instinct.

If your pet has a fireworks phobia, that first pop is enough to activate their fight or flight instincts. Disoriented pets running in search of a hiding place can get hit by cars or lost a long way from home.  Make sure your pets stay indoors before, during and after the action. Check that windows and screens are securely closed, and finish any walks before sundown so your pets aren’t outside when the fireworks start. If you are hosting your own New Year’s Eve bash, secure your pets in whatever way they feel most comfortable so that they can’t bolt when guests are coming and going.


Calming Aids

There are some helpful aids on the market to help your pet with their fireworks anxiety. In addition to making a cozy space or “nest” for your little one to feel safe in, you can give these aids a try. Not every product will work for every animal, sometimes a combination of products works best.

The Thundershirt is like a super snug jacket. Have you ever noticed your dog or cat calm down when wrapped or “swaddled” in a blanket or bathrobe?  This anxiety wrap mimics that feeling. The Thundershirt comes in different sizes for both cat and dog and can make a world of difference during fireworks, thunder storms, travel, and other stressful times. It is recommended that you use the Thundershirt several times before you expect results.

thundershirt for cats

Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic way to promote calm feelings in pets during stressful situations. This alcohol free tincture can be added to drinking water and is made from a combination of five soothing flower essences. Rescue Remedy is safe for dogs and cats.

Comfort Zone imitates naturally occurring pheromones that helps put dogs and cats at ease. Comfort Zone with Feliway for cats works by mimicking facial pheromones cats naturally secrete. When a cat rubs his face on something, he is marking that area as familiar and safe. Comfort Zone with DAP for dogs works by mimicking the pheromone that mother dogs secrete when nursing their puppies. This pheromone makes dogs feel safe and relaxed. Comfort Zone is available in a diffuser or spray.  The diffusers consist of a reusable plug in base and the Feliway liquid pheromone.  One diffuser will last 30 days and covers about 600 square feet. Like the Thunder Shirt, it is recommended you start using it before the anxiety inducing events occur.

Composure for cats is an edible treat. Composure Chews contain three active ingredients that work to relieve stress. They work fairly quickly, typically taking effect within 20 to 30 minutes, and give the benefit of oral anxiety relief without unnecessary drowsiness or strange behavior.

Pet Naturals of Vermont makes a calming chew for dogs. These chews help alleviate stress related behavior problems without affecting your pet’s personality or energy level. They can be given as treats daily or just when extra help to relax is needed.

Pets still not comforted or composed? If over the counter medications fail to fully calm your pet, your vet may have stronger solutions to recommend. There are several prescription medications available to treat anxiety and compulsive behaviors in dogs and cats. Consult your vet if you wish to try a stronger prescription medication.

As always make sure your pet is wearing their collar and identification tags in case, despite all your efforts, they do end up getting loose.

dachsund in a new years hat

We wish you and your pets a healthy, happy New Year and a lovely 2013!