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Stress less about fireworks on the Fourth of July

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Try comforting your pet during the Fourth of July fireworks by leading them to where they feel safest. Give them a blanket and their favorite toy, too.

Despite lingering social distancing guidelines, someone is bound to set off some fireworks this year to celebrate the Fourth of July. Whether the explosions are far away or a few houses down the road, your pet might get startled, especially if it's their first time hearing a firework.

Fear can cause all sorts of responses in your pet, including cowering, shaking, barking, or nervous peeing. You can try to avoid these reactions this year with lots of preparation and care.

One of the best ways to ease your pet's fear of fireworks is to make them think the fireworks are no big deal. Try playing firework videos, or pop some bubble wrap in front of your pet. The key is to pair these scary sounds with treats, and don't make the sounds too loud or overwhelming. Slow progression can help your pet normalize these sounds in their head and react to the real thing more calmly.

Unless your pet is the calmest animal ever, taking them to a fireworks show is a no-go. Even if your pet becomes comfortable with the sound of the fireworks, the smell or flashes of light could trigger a stress response. Keep your pets indoors and close the windows to suppress the noise.

If you like to gather with friends and family for the Fourth of July, don't leave your pet out of the mix. Think about going to a secluded area with your pets where you can cook a delicious BBQ without the constant firework noise. And keep it small because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Enjoying the fireworks from your backyard this year? Try exercising your pet before the festivities start, so they're tuckered out in the evening. Once it gets dark, lead them to where they feel safest and give them a cozy blanket along with their favorite toy. If possible, play some white noise on a radio or TV nearby. Your pet is more likely to feel safe if they are inside their personal space. Supervise and leash your pet during any potty breaks, so they don't get spooked and run away.

It's natural for pet owners to want to hold their pets close during scary experiences. If you try to console your pet verbally, don't raise your voice. Your pet will match your negative energy with more distress. Petting, cuddling, and acting like nothing has changed are the keys to maintaining peace.

It's possible that your pet has an anxious personality and will need extra help in coping with their fears. Talk to your vet about anxiety medication or calming treats.

Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.