Fireworks, Parties, and Thunderstorms: Understanding Pet Noise Anxiety
Summer can be a wonderful time to slow down, gather with family and friends, and enjoy all the festivities the season has to offer. For many pets, however, the warmer months can be the scariest time of year.
Fireworks, parties, and thunderstorms can trigger pet noise anxiety and fear. Pets may respond by hiding, shaking, or becoming destructive. The urge to escape the noise can put them at risk for becoming lost or injured.
Pet noise anxiety is a real problem, but luckily there are a few things you can do to help your pet and manage their fears. Blue Valley Animal Hospital focuses on the techniques and tips you can use to help your pet keep calm this summer.
Fireworks, Thunderstorms and Parties
The noises and bright lights we associate with Independence Day can leave your pet quaking in fear or clawing at the windows in a desperate attempt to escape.
Whether you’ll be heading out to watch the fireworks or hosting a viewing party in your backyard, we have some ways to get prepared and help your pet.
- Before the fireworks start, give your pet some vigorous exercise. A tired dog (or cat) is a relaxed pet, so allow her to release some pent up energy so she can stay calmer.
- If she wants to greet party guests, let her do so while on leash. The frequent comings and goings of a party give pets ample opportunity to scoot out the door and become lost.
- Set up a safe space for your pet to stay in during parties, fireworks, or thunderstorms. A laundry room, spare bedroom, or even a bathroom could work in a pinch. Make sure your pet has access to her bed, food, water, litter box, and favorite toys or comfort items.
- Crate trained pets may prefer to hide in their crate, while others may need a larger space to roam.
- Stay near your pet to offer reassurance. If you are hosting a party, check on her once an hour. If there is a thunderstorm or a fireworks show close by that you won’t attend, your continuous presence will soothe her.
- Play the radio, white noise, or the tv to mask outdoor sounds
- Distract your pet with her favorite games, toys, and treats
- If you’ll be leaving for the day, consider finding an alternative place for your pet to stay, such as a trusted boarding facility, or the home of a family member or friend.
- Some pets benefit from a pressure-based anxiety reducing garment such as a Thundershirt.
- Talk to us about the calming benefits of pheromones such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats.
Pet Noise Anxiety
If your pet has shown signs of severe noise anxiety in the past, please ask us about prescription medication and positive behavioral therapy.
Some signs that your pet may benefit from the ideas and tips we’ve discussed are:
- Incessant barking
- Pacing constantly and/or inability to rest or relax
- Excessive panting
- Vocalizing or whining
- Hiding in unusual places
- Chewing and scratching at doors, walls, or windows
- House soiling
Keeping Pets Safe
Our main priority is to keep your pet safe. Since a primary reason pets try to escape is pet noise anxiety, we recommend that you consider a microchip, if you pet has not yet has this procedure. Each year over the 4th of July, animal shelters nationwide fill with pets who have become lost while trying to escape the fireworks noise. A microchip is your best chance of finding your pet should he become lost.