Tips and products to ease pets afraid of fireworks in MS

If you’re a pet owner, chances are you know all about fireworks phobia. The fear and anxiety fireworks induce has made the Fourth of July the most common day for dogs to run away, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The folks at Pet Haven Veterinary Hospital in Bay St. Louis suggested fitting your pet with a microchip or an ID tag with identifying information. Hancock County Animal Shelter recommended securing fences, too.

There are ways to reduce the risk of your pet bolting. Here are a few tips to get you and your best friend through another noisy Independence Day.

Keep your dog indoors and away from noise

  • Travel out of town to somewhere quiet and secluded.

  • Find a doggy day care in a remote area.

  • If you stay home, set up a quiet area away from windows and surround your pup with familiar toys and treats, suggested AKC.

  • Schedule meals and potty time early. “Give your dog enough time to finish his dinner, digest and potty before the noise begins so that he’s not forced to hold it during an already stressful period,” suggested PetMD.

Ask a professional

According to the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol, less than a third of pet owners seek professional advice to treat their pet’s fear. Your veterinarian will be familiar with your pet and may have treatments or suggestions you haven’t tried.

  • Your vet can prescribe pheromones for dogs or cats in the form of sprays, collars, diffusers or even treats.

  • Speaking of treats, there are a number of calming treats on the market these days. In addition to those with pheromones, some contain tryptophan, chamomile, vitamin supplements, or CBD. Your veterinarian can point you to the treats that work best.

  • Hire a trainer who can teach your pet healthy ways to manage stressful situations or desensitize your pet to whatever causes anxiety.

Distract your pets

  • Play music or turn on your television to draw out the fireworks.

  • Use a white noise machine or download a white noise app.

  • Take your pet for a long walk or hike early in the day. According to PetMD, an exhausted dog is less likely to react to fireworks.

  • Give your pet puzzle toys or heartbeat toys.

  • Calm, soothing petting may be just what your pet needs. Use a gentle tone, even if your dog is barking loudly. If you raise your voice, the dog may think something really is wrong.

  • If you won’t be with your dog for the holiday, consider buying him a hug. The Thundershirt is a weighted anxiety jacket that provides gentle, constant pressure.

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The Kong Anxiety Reducing Shirt keeps gentle, soothing pressure on dogs frightened by thunder or fireworks. HANDOUT VIA NEW YORK TIMES

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