You may not have prepared your pet for the heart-stopping display of fireworks during our upcoming patriotic holiday. Last year’s July Fourth festivities turned your poor pet into a quivering wreck of anxiety and fear, so avoid a repeat, and begin desensitizing your furry pal to fireworks now. Follow Lifetime Veterinary Center’s step-by-step guide to help soothe your pet’s fireworks fear, and ensure everyone enjoys this July Fourth.
Step 1: Discover your pet’s favorite treat
A high-value treat goes a long way toward helping your pet focus on food rather than terrifying sounds. Learn which treat works best for your pet, such as spray cheese, dried liver, or small pieces of steak. Then, stock up on their favorite and reward them with that particular treat only during the firework desensitization process.
Step 2: Play fireworks music softly for your pet
Armed with the treats, softly play a soundtrack of different firework sounds. Keep the volume at a level that piques your pet’s interest but does not cause them to show anxiety signs, like heavy panting, drooling, hiding, or whining. When your pet begins to listen to the sounds without reacting negatively, offer them rewards. Some pets may respond better to a certain toy, but the majority of pets will prefer food.
Step 3: Increase the volume but keep your pet calm
Once your pet is comfortable at the initial volume, slowly increase the volume, and play fireworks music that includes a wide range of booms, shrieks, and pops. Desensitization sessions should occur daily for only a few minutes, always ensuring you end on a positive note. This process may take weeks until your pet is comfortable hearing fireworks at a loud volume, so begin now.
If despite your best efforts, you find that your pet still flees beneath the nearest piece of furniture when they hear fireworks, they likely need expert help. Contact our team to schedule a behavior consultation, so we can get your furry pal relief before the fireworks begin.