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Keeping pets calm during fireworks

Brenda Tobin-Flood


The 4th of July weekend is upon us, and the night sky will soon be booming with fireworks. Although it’s a lot of fun for us, it can be a stressful time for your pet. Here are some tips for keeping them calm during the festivities.

My first and most important recommendation is to keep your pet safely indoors. The ideal situation is to securely contain them in a bedroom or bathroom, with a radio playing soft, soothing music. This helps your pet feel safe, like they’re inside their own private den. Keeping them in a separate room also ensures that they will not bolt out the front door. When animals are scared by loud noises – especially fireworks – their fight or flight instincts can kick in, causing them to take off and become lost.

Some dogs respond well to the ThunderShirt, a patented swaddling blanket with Velcro fasteners that wraps around your pet’s chest. Its gentle, constant pressure soothes dogs or cats that are anxious, fearful or overexcited. It is veterinarian approved and recommended by trainers.

You can also diffuse a calming, therapeutic grade essential oil in the room, such as lavender, which has a sweet floral aroma and is great for relaxation. My favorite oil, Valor, is a combination of therapeutic grade essential oils that increase feelings of strength, courage, and self-esteem in the face of adversity. Peace & Calming is another great blend. Along with diffusing, you can also allow the animal to directly inhale the oils – just let them inhale until they turn away from it. For quickest absorption, massage a few drops onto the pads of their feet. These oils are also helpful for outdoor animals such as horses or goats.

Bach’s Rescue Remedy is a blend of five different flower essences: Star of Bethlehem for trauma and shock, Cherry Plum for uncontrolled, irrational thoughts, Rock Rose for panic or terror, Clematis for depression, and Impatients for, well, impatience! Rescue Remedy comes in a spray, drops or pill form. The drops can be fed directly to the pet, which I prefer, or added to their drinking water.

Another homeopathic remedy I’d recommend is Chamomilla 30C, which reduces impatience, excitement, irritability, fear, and tearful moods. In tincture form, one dose is usually about 15 drops, though you should check the package instructions. It’s also available in small, easy to swallow pellets. Just place 3–4 in the side of the animal’s mouth. The pellets are sweet tasting and the animal should not mind them at all. Gently close the animal’s mouth for a moment to ensure that they have swallowed. I recommend dosing the animal every 15 minutes for the first hour and see how they are acting. If they have calmed down, you can just leave them alone. But if they are still reacting to the fireworks noise, you can repeat the dose every hour.

Written by- Brenda M. Tobin-Flood, Cert. C.N.

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