Keep Pets Comfortable During Storms & Fireworks
posted: Jul. 06, 2018.
In this article, Hartland Park Animal Hospital—conveniently located in Lexington, KY—is here to provide you with some expert advice on how to keep your pet comfortable when dealing with thunderstorms or fireworks. To learn more about how we can help your pets, contact us today! We also serve the surrounding area.
Pets are not immune to stress induced by loud noises, and it is a natural, and often common, reaction that they may have. Booming sounds trigger their nervous system, so in response they may become afraid or anxious. The most common aggravators that can upset your cat or dog are thunderstorms and fireworks. They can actually be suffering from a phobia of thunderstorms, which can have varying levels of severity. This condition has been found to be strongly correlated to sensitivities to other boisterous commotions, like fireworks and gun shots. As it can be terribly upsetting to see your pet in such emotional turmoil, there are some solutions that may bring them comfort.
If you think your pet is suffering from anxiety it is advised you consult your veterinarian first. They can prescribe anti-anxiety medications that can help them feel more relaxed during a storm or fireworks. The medicine can also help pets suffering from stress to become calm enough to focus on a behavior medication plan you want to put in place. While many can feel uneasy with medicating their cat or dog, if they have untreated thunderstorm phobia that is severe enough, it can develop into a medical emergency. Even if the condition is only mild, it is still a traumatizing experience for them. Medication is available to make your pet more comfortable, so why not take advantage of it?
There are several ways you can help your pet with their thunderstorm anxiety. Make sure that they have access to spaces that make them feel safe. Some guardians think that keeping their pets in a bathroom, closet, or basement with the door closed can help, but this can actually cause them to become even more stressed. As long as the animal is not causing harm to themselves, give them access to the place that makes them feel safest, so their fear is reduced.
You can try to mask the noise of the storm. Use the TV, radio, or other sound devices to dampen the thunder. If you can get your pet to concentrate, you can try to give them an activity to preoccupy their minds, like teaching tricks, or giving them access to food-stuffed toys. They may also benefit from a body wrap, such as a Thundershirt.
For pets with firework anxiety, it is not just the loud sounds scaring them, but also the bright lights and burning smells that accompany it. If you can, try to arrange for your pet to not be in a situation where fireworks will be going off. This isn’t always possible, so you can use acclimation to prepare them for the sound. Try to condition them by playing recorded sounds of fireworks at an increasingly higher volume each time, and follow it with positive reinforcement. Make sure to communicate with your pet during the fireworks, by sending them reassuring messages that there is nothing to worry about. You should also tire your pet by taking them on a long walk before the fireworks so they will be in a calm state.
For safe, reliable care for your pets, you can count on the professionals at Hartland Park Animal Hospital. Our office has advanced expertise to handle pets suffering from countless conditions. Our highly trained staff will treat your pet like family, so you can rest assured your pet will feel at ease. We are located in Lexington, KY to proudly serve the surrounding area. Call us today.