27 Sep How to Calm an Anxious Pet During Fireworks Season?
Fireworks have been used as markers of celebration since humanity developed gunpowder. Believed to have originated in China 20 centuries ago, they have since become synonymous with celebrations. It is not uncommon to see an elaborate firework display in the sky at an event or during a festival. But, gorgeous and breath-taking as the sparkling & colourful explosions may be, they are not exactly environment-friendly, nor are they particularly useful for those around us.
Our pets, for instance, must face discomfort as a result of our jubilant celebrations. Whether it is Diwali, the New Year, or even while celebrating victory in an international cricket match, fireworks are used to mark the joyous occasion. Given how these celebrations occur throughout the year, and how you have no control over how the festivities are conducted, it is important to know how to calm your pet through it all. Here is how you can keep your pet calm during a fireworks display.
1. Keep Your Pet Away from Fireworks
While this may seem obvious, it is still a first precaution to take. Prevention is better than cure, so the best way to make sure your pet is calm during a fireworks display is to make sure they are nowhere near one. Stay well away of fireworks shows; if you suspect a celebration is coming up in the vicinity, avoid heading out. Instead, indulge in a fun activity indoors. If you cannot escape the loud noises at home, it might be a good idea to take a short drive with your pet around an area where the explosions occur at a lower frequency.
2. Create a Safe Haven for Your Pet
It is a good idea to carve out a space where your pet will feel comfortable. You should work on creating a soothing environment for them, someplace where the bright lights and loud noises will not affect them. Try getting your pet used to their crate, or perhaps head to an area with no windows like a basement. Training in advance makes this process far easier than it will be if done at the last moment. Make sure to provide your pet with love, treats, and something with a familiar scent, such as their favourite toy or blanket. Close all doors and windows in the house while fireworks are audible.
3. Ensure your Pet is Identifiable
Times of distress are when most pets go missing; when an uncomfortable environment presents itself suddenly, our pets do not have the logical reasoning required to understand that they are not in any immediate danger. This sense of being overwhelmed often leads to pets running away or going missing, which is why their identification is of paramount importance. Make sure your pet is microchipped, as well as maintaining up-to-date information regarding your address and contact details so they can be found in case of an incident.
4. Comfort your Pet
In a situation where your pet is stressed and anxious, they need someone familiar to them, someone who will soothe them and make them comfortable. Wherever you end up to avoid the great gig in the sky, you should make sure to stay with your pet to comfort them, as the explosions outside are enough of a stressor on their own. Stay with them, comfort them, cuddle with them, shower them with all the love and affection you have, sing for them, or play some music. Whatever you choose to do to soothe your pet, make sure to remain calm and use an even-tone (relaxing tone) of voice when interacting with them. Pets can pick up on their owner’s stress, and it is important to remain level-headed while comforting your pet.
5. Accustom your Pet to the Sounds of Fireworks
Making your pet accustomed to the noise of a fireworks show may not be the easiest of tasks, but it can be done. As with any form of training or desensitization, positive reinforcement is the key. For example, play recordings or videos of a thunderstorm or fireworks display while the two of you are relaxing in a familiar setting. Reward them with treats throughout the listening session. Additionally, white noise may help in such a circumstance. White noise is a noise which contains all audible frequencies, and helps distract from other, more intrusive noises. Examples of white noise are static from a radio or a television.
As pet parents, the onus is on us to care our fur babies at times when they are not feeling the best. It is our job to make them feel comfortable. So, identify their stressors, be patient throughout the process, and act accordingly. Our pets cannot express to us when they feel scared or threatened, we need to read their body language and signals to piece the puzzle. The best thing to keep your pet calm is to be calm with them.