Some pets truly suffer through fireworks or thunderstorms. Spot asked for tips from local experts, and most agree on prevailing tips and remedies. Sarah Fuller of NoPo Paws and the folks at Multnomah County Animal Services nicely summed up prevailing wisdom on keeping fearful pets safe and comfortable through the fireworks and thunderstorms they dread.
Fighting the Fear
From Sarah Fuller, NoPo Paws –
We encourage pet parents to start thinking about the 4th in June so they may be prepared by the time we start hearing fireworks in early July. I encourage folks to set up a quiet, calm area at where the noise of the fireworks will be less impactful to a pet. We use our finished basement for this. Play either the radio, TV or some white noise to further help muffle fireworks sounds. I recommend preparing a frozen Kong or purchasing a long-lasting, high-value chew like a raw bone, and giving it to your dog right before fireworks begin.
These are great tips for all dogs, regardless of how frightened they are by the loud noises. However, if a pet experiences more severe anxiety, we recommend one or a combination of the following: Thundershirt, herbal calming remedies, like Animal Apawthecary’s Tranquility Blend, or calming treats. These products should be tested well ahead of the 4th to gauge your pet’s response; they are also available in cat varieties.
Not all pets react the same to calming products, and by testing them you can see how they work for your pet and adjust as needed to provide the greatest relief. Additionally, never assume your pet’s reaction will be the same from year to year. In our household, one dog has gotten more relaxed year to year (with the use of Tranquility Blend) while another dog has gotten worse and now requires both the Tranquility Blend and the Thundershirt.
My final recommendation is to utilize the fireworks in the days leading up to the 4th as a training opportunity to desensitize your pet to the bangs and explosions. Carry a treat pouch at home, and every time you hear an occasional firework, reward your pet’s calm behavior with a treat. With consistency, your pet might even change his or her mind about the fireworks and begin to look forward to each bang because they know it predicts a yummy treat!
What to do if you lose — or find a lost — pet
From Multnomah County Animal Services –
Each year, MCAS experiences are large influx of lost animals around the 4th. When pets hear the explosions, some startle and bolt. Unfortunately, some are even injured by fences and cars as they attempt to flee.
If you lose a pet, check the shelter and submitted reports early and often. MCAS is offering a "Reunited We Stand" special through July 12th. All licensed pets that find their way to the MCAS shelter during this time can be redeemed at no cost.
If you've found a pet in Multnomah County wearing a license tag, you can look up owner contact information on the MCAS License Lookup page. If no license tag and you don't find the owner after searching the lost reports, you are required by law to report the found animal at MultCoPets.org. You may care for the animal yourself until the owner is located or take it to the shelter during regular business hours. For complete instructions, click on the “Found a Pet?” tab.