Don’t Let Fireworks FREAK OUT Your Pet

July 2, 2015

This Saturday we celebrate Independence Day and the store will be closed so our Krewe can have fun with their families and friends.

Many of you have pets who FREAK OUT during thunderstorms and fireworks – so read on for some tips to ensure both you and your pets enjoy the holiday.

First of all – it’s better not to leave a pet outside, since it will be incredibly loud out there and they may feel the reverberations more easily.  Your dog may be fine with thunder, but the noise, smell of sulfur, and flashing lights of fireworks may terrify him.

DEFINITELY don’t leave your dog tied-out outside!  He has nowhere to go and the combination of the noise and restraint can be traumatic.

It should go without saying that you should never punish a pet for its reaction to fireworks; not only is this wrong but it will reinforce the fear.  It should ALSO go without saying, don’t let a goofball set off fireworks right next to your pet!

I’ve got tips on how to “desensitize” your pet to loud noises at the end of this blog post.

calming products at B&B Pet Stop in Mobile, Alabama
B&B Pet Stop carries a variety of products to help keep your pet calm during stressful times – INCLUDING fireworks!

We carry several products to help keep your pet calm during fireworks and other stressful situations.

The Number 1 product we carry for stress is the THUNDERSHIRT.  This is a garment that basically “swaddles” your pet, putting constant pressure on his torso, which has an amazing calming effect.  Put the Thundershirt on your pet BEFORE the fireworks begin and follow the other tips I’ve listed below.

We’ve also got ADAPTIL, which contains a synthetic replica of the dog-appeasing pheromone mother dogs naturally emit.  This “happy scent” is a strong signal of security and comfort to puppies as they face new challenges.  ADAPTIL is clinically proven to help reduce stress in puppies and adult dogs.  It comes as a plug-in diffuser and as an adjustable collar.  It can take up to 4 weeks to kick in, so plan ahead.

Another product we carry is CALM-QUIL tablets, a time-release calming formula providing extended stress relief. CALM-QUIL contains Immune-Defense antioxidants to minimize the effects stress has on the immune system.  They also contains natural chamomile, ginger, and valerian root providing natural stress relief.  Give the tablet at least an hour before a stressful event and from what we’ve heard, they taste and smell like vitamins, so be prepared with some Greenies Pill Pockets.

I have to mention the CALMING SHAMPOO from Burt’s Bees containing lavender and green tea, but I can’t imagine giving a dog a BATH to calm them down – haha.  My dog does NOT consider a bath as relaxing as I do.

Here are some other tips to help your pet deal with the stress of LOUD NOISES such as fireworks:

BEFORE the fireworks
Be sure you’ve got up-to-date ID tags and if your pet is micro-chipped, make sure the information in the database is correct.  Since more pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day, you want to be able to find your pet if he runs off in fear.

Make sure your HOUSE is safe for a frightened dog.  Pick an inner room (so it’s quieter), remove any sharp objects, and make sure you can close it off so that your pet doesn’t run around the house/ injure itself/ wreck furniture.

Put your pet’s bedding or favorite toys in the room.  If he uses a puppy pad, make that available.

Keep a light on to calm your pet and make him feel more secure; you don’t want him scared in a dark room.

If it’s not an inner room, close the curtains and cover the crate (if you’ve got him crated).  This will block the flashes of light from fireworks (or lightening in a storm.)

Drown out the sound of fireworks by turning on music or the TV; just not TOO loud since that can be stressful, too.

Walk your dog BEFORE the fireworks start.

DURING the fireworks
Provide water – some pets get thirsty when they are frantic.

Pets pick up on YOUR anxiety – so it’s important that YOU keep calm.    If you stay with your pet during the fireworks, speak calming to him without making too much of a fuss.  If you’re not with your pet, don’t stress – all this prep will help your pet a lot.

Allow your pet to hide under a table or desk or behind the couch if they want to.  Don’t drag them out from their safe spot!

AFTER the fireworks

Check on your pet afterwards.  If you’ve covered the crate you can remove the cover.

If your pet is stressed  (signs of stress include barking a lot, running away, soiling the house, hiding and cowering, clinging to owners, whimpering, trembling and shaking, pacing and panting, and refusing to eat) you may consider keeping him inside overnight.

Check the yard and pick up any fireworks debris – like bottle rocket sticks or sparklers – before you let your pet out.

If everything you’ve done to make it easier on your pet doesn’t work, you might speak to your vet about prescribing mild sedatives or tranquilizing drugs.  Sometimes these drugs need to be administered weeks in advance, so handle this BEFORE the next big holiday.

Here are some tips on how to desensitize a pet to loud noises:

Start with a sound recording of the noise that frightens your pet.   Play it at a very, very low volume. As the sound is playing, ensure your pet is calm and relaxed. If they aren’t relaxed, then the sound is too loud.   You know what makes your dog happiest; if they are food-driven, then feed them a few appropriate treats.  If they prefer attention or toys, then play with them as the sound plays.  When the sound ends, the fun ends.

Practice this a few times a day or every day for a week until your dog completely ignores the sound.

Next, turn the volume up a little bit and go through the whole process again.  Do this a few times a day (at least an hour between sessions) for as long as it takes until the sound is booming through your house and your dog could care less. This process also works with doorbells, thunder, truck engines, clippers, crying babies, or any sound that triggers any reaction in your dog.

We care about you and your pet and the whole Krewe at B&B Pet Stop wishes you a very happy and safe 4th of July.

We’ll be open  11-6  (regular hours) on Sunday, July 5th.

THANK YOU for keeping it local by shopping at B&B Pet Stop, Mobile’s ONLY independent pet store.  And please VOTE for us as Best Pet Store in Lagniappe’s Nappies awards.  We’ve got to show those big box stores that MOBILE LOVES LOCAL!


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