How to Help Your Pets Manage Their Fear, Anxiety, and Stress this 4th of July

How to Help Your Pets Manage Their Fear, Anxiety, and Stress this 4th of July

As the Fourth of July approaches, you’re probably making plans for cookouts, picnics, and firework displays. But do you have a plan for your dog or cat when the blasts and booms begin and they start shaking in their collars? If you’re not sure what to do with your ‘fraidy cat or scaredy dog this July 4th, we have some recommendations that can help them feel more comfortable and confident.
The first thing you will want to do is to learn to recognize when your pet is stressed. If you know your pet is nervous, there is still plenty of time to prepare your home to be comfy, cozy, and calming.

Signs of Stress in Dogs and Cats

If you’ve noticed your dog slink off into a back room, hide under the table, or scurry into a closet during a thunderstorm, your pup is probably a great candidate for some de-stressing assistance this July 4th. When a dog is nervous or fearful, they often try to isolate themselves. The same is true of fearful felines.
Other signs of stress you may recognize include:

  • Whining or whimpering
  • Tucked tail
  • Shivering or shaking
  • Pacing
  • Foamy spit
  • Cowering
  • Excessive licking or chewing
  • Tensed muscles
  • Sweaty paws
  • Missing the litter box
  • Shedding
  • Panting
  • Not wanting to eat. This is especially significant if you have a chowhound!
  • Diarrhea
  • Edginess or aggression towards other pets or people
  • “Whale eye” (showing the whites of the eyes)

How Can You Help Comfort Your Cowardly Cat or Canine?

While many pets don’t need long-term anxiety medication to cope with stress, it can be helpful to have some supplies ready for circumstances like fireworks or storms. Here are a few you can easily pick up from our online store, purchase within our clinic, access via YouTube, and put together from comfy blankets and familiar items to your pet.

1. Adaptil Products for Dogs

 Adaptil is an over-the-counter product that comforts dogs when they’re stressed. Adaptil replicates a pheromone that naturally calms and de-stresses dogs. It’s very effective when it comes to dogs stressed by loud noises like fireworks. TheAdaptil diffuser, collar, or spray will provide your pup pleasant dreams and relaxed good vibes all evening and through the night. Adaptil is available in our online store as well as in-clinic. 

2. Feliway Product for Cats

 If your cat won’t come out from under the bed on the 4th of July, try aFeliway Diffuser to help her regain her confidence and feel a bit of comfort. Like Adaptil, this product replicates a pheromone cats make naturally when they feel cozy. Several options of Feliway sprays and diffusers are available in our online store and in-clinic. 

3.  The Thundershirt for Dogs and Cats

 Does a comforting hug lighten your mood? Well, your dog or cat can feel the gentle squeeze of a hug all evening long with an Evercalm Recovery Shirt! These shirts softly put constant pressure on your pet which naturally alleviates fear and stress. These shirts are used post-surgery but can also used to reduce anxiety. Not only will your pet feel calmer, but he or she is sure to look dashing as well! You can find these in our clinic and in our online store. 

4.  Desensitization Soundtracks

 Sometimes we find ourselves listening to these while we work. They’re very pleasant and relaxing. You can find tracks on YouTube that like this one that are 8 hours long. You can play them on your television or computer. Be sure to leave them at a moderate volume to help your pup remain calmer and more relaxed if you’re leaving the house for the celebration.
Bonus tip: These also work well for dogs experiencing separation anxiety 

Closing thoughts – The importance of Mindfulness and Preparedness

While the first four items on our list will help your pet feel more independent this 4th of July, there’s no replacement for mindfulness and preparedness. Now is the time to gather what you will need for the 4th of July. If you have questions or you want to learn more about how we can help your pet cope with anxiety, call and make an appointment. And when the morning of the 4th arrives, prepare the room where your pet will be. Make sure the sound works for the desensitization track. Plug in the diffuser. And position some comfy bedding away from the windows. You may even want to dim the lights and close the blinds.
As the night progresses, pay attention and respond to your pet’s behavior promptly. If you see your pet sneak off into the other room, keep them calm with some positive encouragement and their Evercalm Recovery Shirt. Remember to never force a nervous pet out of their hiding spot. We hope your July Fourth is a “blast” for you and your pets

Image credit: Sonja Rachbaur | iStock/Getty Images Plus

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