Things Pet Owners In Texas Need To Know For July 4th Weekend
It's about to be firework season in Texas and there are going to be a lot of extra loud noises, bangs, and bright flashes of light happening that are just going to freak out a lot of pets.
While setting off fireworks within most city limits is against the law, there are still going to be people who drop quite a few bills on some big fireworks and will end up setting them off in your neighborhood which will in fact terrify a bunch of animals.
Jolynn Payne, owner and trainer at Rocking Paw Dog Training (CPDT-KA, AASC), says that on holidays like the 4th of July “you might see your dog trying to jump through a glass window or screen to get back in the house or even jumping over the fence, which in a state of flight can cause them to dash into traffic. These instances of self-harm are caused by the sympathetic nervous system creating feelings of stress or fear,” which can engage an acute stress response.
This is why she highly recommends working with your animals in advance to help desensitize them to the sound and lessen their anxiety. This can take a few weeks to be effective, so it’s best to start now before the holiday sneaks up on us.
First and foremost, find a soundtrack of fireworks noises. There are a handful of apps that you can download or you can pull up videos on YouTube. Second, conduct this activity in the room that your pet(s) reside in the most. This familiar environment can help to make them feel more secure throughout the exercise.
Next, start low and slow. Keep the volume at the lowest setting. “The goal is that your dog who is ‘sensitized’ to the sound gets used to being around it because the sound is delivered at a very low volume, thus, desensitizing the sound as it gets louder. Then, when the event happens in real-time, your dog will then be comfortable because the sound is ‘frequent’ and they are used to hearing it,” Payne says.
If you don’t see any progress over the next few weeks, speak with your veterinarian about potential medications that can help alleviate these extreme fears. Moreover, don’t forget that fireworks sales start as early as June 24th. This means that as the holiday approaches, make a point to keep a closer eye on your pets, especially during the hours when people are more likely to be setting off these pyrotechnics.
If you know your pet is prone to disappearing like Houdini, Copperfield, or Shin Lim it might be a good idea to bring them indoors, stay at home with them, and be their protector for the evening. You might even consider wrapping them in a blanket or a 'thunder jacket.'
Other things you can do:
- Turn on a radio
- Leave the TV on with the sound up
- Give them their favorite toy
- Place them in their crate in an interior room with a blanket
In the event your pet does escape and runs away, there's a pretty good chance one of your neighbors will see them and hopefully take them in until you come looking for them. Above all, make sure they are wearing a tag that has their name and your contact phone number on it or a microchip.
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