The time of year has arrived again where the skies light up with (mostly legal) fireworks, and the ground cannons echo throughout entire neighborhoods. I personally LOVE fireworks; my kitties do not. One shimmies her chubby little body under the couch, another hides under the comforter on the bed, and our not-so-wild jungle kitty retreats to her safety zone in the garage. While I wish we also had a dog or two, when the night sky explodes, I am glad we do not, because they seem to take fireworks the worst. So, what can you do when the bombs are bursting in air to keep your pets safe, or aspirationally, calm?
Pheromones– there are some scents that are supposed to calm animals. I have tried several and not had any success, but others have reported that certain scents can have a calming effect. You can ask at your veterinarian’s office or at your local pet store for suggestions. They come in sprays, wall plug-ins, and other methods of delivery.
Distraction– some things that may help include making sure all windows are closed (for sound) and curtains drawn (for the flashes of light). If it is harder for them to hear and see, their anxiety levels may decrease. It also helps if you do not react to the goings on outside.
Another way to distract your pets is by turning music or the television on to stifle the noise of fireworks. Get your pet their favorite toy and settle in for a good movie (I hear “Pets 2” is good) with popcorn to share with your furry friend.
Drugs: yes, drugs. Turns out that many of the same drugs that lessen anxiety in people, lessen anxiety in pets. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD SHARE YOUR XANAX WITH YOUR DOG/CAT/GOAT. If your pet experiences anxiety each fireworks season here in Hawaii (and how many are there here- 4? 5?), talk to your veterinarian about what medications would be best for your pet. Keep in mind that prescription medications usually need to be started several weeks before the anticipated scary event. There are some over the counter naturopathic options such as milk thistle, essential oils, anti-anxiety clothing (think thunder shirts), and aromatherapy. Again, do not just go out and buy all the anti-anxiety supplements at your local natural foods store- talk to your veterinarian first. You may also find that CBD oil or CBD treats help calm your pet. For these treatments, be sure not to exceed the recommended dosage.
Bottom line is that if you have a pet, you likely care deeply for its health and safety, and you hate to see him/her/them suffer during fireworks season(s). Above all else, try to keep your pet inside or in a secure location where he/she is safe and unable to escape. The last thing you want to do on New Year’s Day is to have to form a search party for your beloved four-legged friend who ran away due to fireworks.