Preventative care and client education are the fundamentals for happy and healthy pets.
This year is a little different with the Coronavirus pandemic and the slow reopening of states, but July 4th is coming up and many people still have plans to set off their own fireworks. Even if you don’t set them off, a *POP* from down the street could be enough to have little Buddy or Daisy running off to find the nearest dark, quiet corner of the house. It’s important that we as owners take steps to help our pets to feel safe and secure through the festivities. After all, Independence Day is on a weekend this year; there are sure to be a ton of celebrations.
Jaz (underneath the blanket) was so scared last year, but Sansa got on the floor and tried to comfort her with some snuggles.
Below are some tips and tricks to help Buddy get through the fireworks without too much anxiety.
If your dog or cat were to run off, police departments, animal shelters, and veterinary offices can scan for a microchip and contact you to retrieve your pet. That being said, if your pet is already microchipped, verify that the information on the registry is up-to-date. Many owners forget to change a phone number when they get a new one, or change the address when they move. It’s a good idea to check it once per year just for peace of mind. Pet Microchip Lookup will help you verify your information or find out where to update if necessary.
If you are interested in getting a microchip for your pet, contact your veterinarian today!
Wear them out
A tired puppy is a calm puppy. Take them on a nice long walk or playdate, or throw the ball around the yard for a while. Wear them out enough that all they want to do in the evening is cuddle up and take a nap. This trick also works if they get anxious on long car rides or when heading to the vet for their annual check-up.
Leave your pets at home
Many owners already know that their furry friends are sensitive to the loud, sudden noises of fireworks. But sometimes a pet could be fine one year and then very scared the next! Don’t assume that they will handle the fireworks with ease. Pets can become more sensitive to noises as they age. Of course we love spending time with our furry friends, but is bringing them to the fireworks display really the best idea? Leaving your pet at home may be the best way to keep them comfortable. Dogs that are crate-trained might feel most at ease in their ‘den.’ Covering their crate with a blanket may help avoid fear caused by the sudden flashes of light from firework displays and playing music or turning on the tv can help obscure the noise.
One external treatment that we love are calming collars. Calming collars, made for both dogs and cats, let off pheromones that mimic those released by nursing mothers. Dogs and cats smell them and are brought back to their puppy or kitten days and start to feel safe and secure. These calming collars typically last for one month and can be used for pets that tend to have some mild anxiety day to day.
Another option, the ThunderShirt by Adaptil, works by applying light, constant pressure around your dog or cat, to help reduce anxiety, similar to swaddling a baby. “The ThunderShirt is proven to be over 80% effective in reducing anxiety for fireworks, thunderstorms, separation anxiety, travel, vet visits, problem barking and more.” New ThunderShirts also come with a patch that can be sprayed with ThunderEase, a pheromone spray with additional calming support.
Supplements and Medications
Some cats and dogs react worse to thunderstorms and fireworks than others. Sansa barely notices that anything is amiss, but my Jaz turns into a big ol’ scaredy cat at the first loud noise. That’s just how they are. If you’ve tried everything above, and it’s still just not enough, there are other options to help reduce your pet’s fear and anxiety. Before starting any supplement or medication, consult your veterinarian. They may have specific recommendations based on your pet’s level of anxiety or medical history.
One over-the-counter option we recommend is Composure by VetriScience. It is a chewable treat that starts working within 30 minutes to help support calm behavior. It can be given to both cats and dogs, but give it a try a couple days ahead of time so that you can determine how much is needed to incite the reaction (or lack thereof) that you are looking for. Some might need more, and some might need less. Check with your veterinarian about any alternative options.
Calming Collars and Composure can be purchased from Pamlico Animal Hospital - call for more information and pricing!
Getting Your Pet Home
We try the best we can, but accidents happen. Maybe Sammy bolted out the door before you could close it, or maybe a window got left open. Don’t panic, but act quickly to increase your chances of bringing him home safely.
Don’t chase your dog
Most times, chasing them just makes them run farther. Set out food and water, their favorite toy or blanket, and something that smells like you. They might just find their way home as soon as the noises die down and they’ve had a chance to relax. Call your local animal shelter, vet clinics, and microchip registry to report your lost pet.
Have recent and clear photos
There are free websites Lost My Kitty and Lost My Doggie that will help you to generate lost pet flyers, and they work best when you have a highly visible picture of your pet to add. Make sure you note any distinct markings that could help a stranger to ID them and any medical/behavioral issues that need to be accounted for. Then these flyers can be passed out to animal shelters, veterinary offices, or posted on a local lost pets Facebook page.
If you find a lost pet, the best chance to help them make it home is to take them to the animal shelter. They’ll scan for a microchip and contact the owner, but it’s also the first place that an owner will check to find their lost friend.
We want everybody to have a fun time, and that includes your pets, so we encourage you all to do what you can to stay safe during this crazy time.
Happy Fourth of July!
Pamlico Animal Hospital