If your pet is prone to hiding from loud noises, you may want to start desensitizing your furry pal to fireworks, as July Fourth is right around the corner. The team at Woodland Veterinary Hospital knows how anxiety-inducing it can be for your pet when they hear noises they aren’t used to hearing regularly. To avoid turning your poor pet into a quivering wreck of anxiety and fear this July Fourth, we created a guide to help soothe your pet’s fireworks fear.
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. First, 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.
Although the steps above are simply tips for you to consider taking to help your pet, this guide may not work for all pets. If, despite your best efforts, your pet still flies into a frenzy when they hear fireworks, they likely need veterinary help. Contact our team to schedule a behavior consultation, so we can get your furry pal relief before the fireworks begin.