Many pet owners know exactly when it’s about to rain buckets in July, but it’s not because they saw the weather report. Instead, by watching their pet closely for any signs of of fear or stress, they can count down when the first bolt of lightning will fill the sky. Between summer storms or Fourth of July fireworks, pet anxiety is a real danger this time of year. However, with a bit of clever planning and preparation, animals don’t have to suffer.
Signs of a Problem
Every pet reacts differently to stress, but pet anxiety is typically characterized by hiding, trying to escape, damaging their surroundings, or even harming themselves. Noise aversion can develop into a full-blown phobia if left alone. Luckily, there are ways to support animals going through this.
Many people believe that it is the noise that freaks pets out before and during thunderstorms. But evidence suggests that it is actually the static electricity in the air that, when coursing through a pet’s fur and skin, resulting in discomfort and fear.
Because they don’t understand what is happening to them (and, frankly, feeling shocked repeatedly can be scary), animals may begin to hide next to or inside bathtubs, basements, and the smallest enclosed, grounded spaces they can find.
Boom, Pop, Hiss
Fireworks may not send static electricity into your pet’s sensitive skin, but they do wreak havoc on a pet’s nerves. The loud, chaotic, unpredictable noise of fireworks is incredibly disorienting to them.
The Fourth of July is one of the most common times of the year for missing or lost pets. Even if they aren’t especially near, pets who hear (and fear) fireworks may try to escape. As a result, it is critical to have your pet microchipped, and if any of your contact information has changed recently, please update it with your pet’s chip manufacturer.
Easing Pet Anxiety
It can feel like a hopeless situation, but pet anxiety can be supported and treated. Thundershirts or other calming jackets can add a great deal of comfort to a stressed-out pet.
We recommend spending as much time with your pet during these common summer events. Snuggle in a quiet bedroom, close the windows, and play music or turn on the television. Similarly, encourage your pet to weather the storm in their own crate where they can feel safe and secure.
Desensitization can work, but it takes time to slowly build up a pet’s resistance to stressful stimuli. Find recordings of fireworks and/or thunderstorms and play lightly while giving your pet lots of encouragement. Eventually, an animal can become neutral to events like thunderstorms and fireworks.
No End in Sight
There are nutritional supplements and medications available to support pet anxiety. Please let us know if you think your pet would benefit from some extra help.
We offer safe, secure, and comfortable pet boarding, should you need us during the Fourth of July.
From all of us here at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, have a happy, safe summer!