How to Help Your Anxious, Scared Pet on July 4th

dog hiding in bed with owner

Loud noises are a common cause of anxiety in pets.[1] Your pet may exhibit a range of anxiety symptoms, including whining or whimpering, withdrawing, shivering, loss of appetite, inappropriate elimination of waste, and destruction of items in your home. This is troublesome for you and harrowing for your pet. Fortunately, there are ways you can help calm your pet in the days leading up to July 4th and during the firework festivities.

Practice These Calming Techniques in Advance of Independence Day

In many neighborhoods, the average firework shows start weeks before Independence Day. This is an excellent time to begin practicing calming techniques with your pet. An advantage of these amateur shows is they won't last as long as the July 4th festivities, so they'll be a good test run for some of these methods.

Play With Your Pet

In the days leading up to July 4th, play with your pet more. For a dog, this might mean an extra walk or more games of fetch. For a cat, it might involve some spare time with the laser pointer or feather toy. More play will help your pet burn off the energy they feel when they're anxious. Then, if they're tired, they might sleep through some of the loud noise.

Play Music

Start playing music in your home during the evening. You could also try white noise.[2] Choose the same sound or song, and pick one that's relaxing. It would be best to avoid the "1812 Overture" and instead play jazz or other soft melodies.

Create a Sanctuary Room

Even if you don't have an entire room to dedicate to your pet, a walk-in closet or even the bathroom may do. Add insulation. Heavy blankets blocking the windows will reduce noise intrusion. Bring in a soft bed and some unique, new toys for your pet to enjoy. Then, when the fireworks start, take your pet into the room.

Start Conditioning

Try conditioning with your pet. When there's a loud noise, and your pet exhibits undesirable behavior, encourage them to do desirable behavior. For example, if your dog starts to tremble after a big boom, ask it to sit. When it sits, reward it with a treat. Keep doing this. Your dog will begin to associate the sound with treats.[3]

Try These Vet-Approved Natural Remedies

Natural remedies can also help your scared pet on July 4th and other times when people set off fireworks. Pet pheromones are one solution.[4] When your pet starts to show signs of stress, use these natural pheromones. They're available for dogs and cats. Another natural remedy to try is essential oil. For example, lavender essential oil is known for its calming properties.[5] Before you use essential oil, verify its safety for your pet with one of our EquiVet veterinarians. CBD oil is another option for your anxious dog. It is best to check with your vet before giving your pet any natural remedies, especially if your pet has health conditions or is on prescription medications.

Ask Your Vet About Prescription Medications for Nervous Pets

Your EquiVet veterinarian may talk about medication to relieve severe anxiety symptoms in your pet. If your pet bites people or your other pets, or if they become destructive during situations that trigger their anxiety, a prescription may help. Some medicines used for dogs and cats with anxiety are the same as those used for people with anxiety. A few of the options include Zoloft, Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Prozac, and Paxil. Make sure to get a prescription for your veterinarian because your pet will need a different dose than what is prescribed for a person.[6]

These calming techniques for your pet will help on the 4th of July and other occasions when there are loud noises in the neighborhood. You may also find these tips helpful during thunderstorms and other different situations that stress your pet. Our veterinarians at EquiVet offer consultations for all types of pet behavior and other health issues. To get more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.









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