If last year’s July Fourth festivities turned your poor pet into a quivering wreck of anxiety and fear, you might want to start desensitizing your furry pal to fireworks now to avoid a repeat. The AMC of Garner Veterinary Hospital team would like to suggest trying these three steps 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 their favorite 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, including 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.
Make sure you are continuously rewarding your pets with treats and praises throughout the process. However, we understand that sometimes despite your best efforts, your pet may still react negatively to the sound of fireworks. If this is the case, 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.