Fireworks, Thunderstorms and Pets
By Sara Stauffer
Summertime means thunderstorms and 4th of July most definitely means fireworks. Many pets experience heightened anxiety and stress during these occasions and display reactive behaviors including excessive barking, pacing and hiding.
It is possible to desensitize these reactive behaviors by working with your dog using positive reinforcement. During times that your dog is calm and quiet you can give them a treat and praise, tell them, "good quiet." If you continue to work on modifying their reactive behavior they will gain confidence and become more comfortable at the onset of a storm.
Be sure to give your dog an extra dose of exercise prior to the approach of an anticipated storm or holiday fireworks. A dog worn out from an extra long walk, ball fetching session, swimming or high energy play time will be a dog that is much more relaxed and content on any occasion.
Provide your dog with activities to keep his mind off the outside noises. Work on training with your dog or play with him to keep them busy during storms and fireworks. You can also spend time with your pet just petting them or get some grooming time in. All pets are different so finding an activity they enjoy will help make the storm pass quickly.
You can also provide your dog with long lasting chews (always supervise your dog's chewing activities to avoid any choking hazards) or a treat stuffed "Kong" toy. The act of chewing for dogs is like reading a book or watching television for us humans.
Herbal remedies and calming aids can also be useful for pets experiencing increased stress during thunderstorms and fireworks.
If your dog is crate trained, the security of their crate is a safe place for them, especially if you cannot be at home with them.
Summertime is a time to provide a little extra attention and comfort to pets who display signs of stress and anxiety with the rapid changes of weather and noisy bright lights in the sky.
Return to Current Edition