Sunday, July 5, 2020

Fireworks and Pets


Fireworks and pets! Sometimes it works and other times it is like the furbaby in the picture above. It can be a nightmare for some pets and that in turn can make it a nightmare for the parents of these pups. I do know from friends who have cats that this is a problem for some of them also. I can only speak of dogs at this stage. Cats seem to have their own personalities with loud noises. 

The poster above makes a very good point by asking if fireworks are necessary? They have always been a way to celebrate the Fourth of July. Usually in a big venue with lots of "oooohhhhhs and ahhhhhhhs" from the crowds. This year was quite different with coronavirus being around. We always have had a few people who have had some basic fireworks on hand to shoot off in their yards. In fact, a couple of years ago, a neighbor actually burned his home to the ground by shooting off fireworks. Just my opinion, but I believe that it is best to leave fireworks to the experts. 

We have never had a dog who was afraid of fireworks. Even our goldendoodles have never displayed fear in previous years. The difference this year seems to be that they were going off so close by and constantly. They actually did not bark and go running through the house. NOPE. This is what they did.

It is rather hard to tell because my husband and I are sitting side by side on a small sofa. I have a green throw over my legs and my feet are not covered, only the top part of a black striped sock is showing. There is the big black doodle lying horizontally over both of us and then his smaller sister is lying horizontally over my legs nestled right up to her brother. We tried putting them in their safe-havens (their crates) but they only wanted on us. 

Never having this problem before, we were at a loss of what to do. So we just talked them through the stress and petted them gently. It was nerve racking for us too. I was worried that one would land on our house or in trees and start a fire. They did seem to finally dwindle down, at least those close to us. Our furbabies went on to sleep in their crates. I know that I stayed awake in bed for at least another 30-40 minutes just listening and being aware in case they needed one of us again or with my wild imagination hoping that I did not smell smoke or the alarm going off from the roof on fire.

Not a good night sleep, that is for sure. Even the pups are having a rather sluggish day. Definitely naps will be happening in this house. From the looks on my social media page, this was the norm for a lot of friends. Actually, we had it easier and shorter than many others. 

By doing a little research, I did find out some simple strategies that we can use. There are ways to be more prepared.

  • Anti-anxiety vests are available that calm dogs down.
  • Stay indoors and turn on loud music or tv. (This is one thing that we did. Watching Hamilton helped to entertain us some while the loud musical helped to drown out some of what was happening outside). Did you know that more dogs go missing over the 4th of July than any other time of the year? They get spooked and if the door is open will bolt. So be sure to keep them safe inside but for good measure have them microchipped and a collar with your name and number on it.
  • Talk to our vet so that we are more prepared for this kind of situation if it happens again which of course, it will...some friends told me they use Benadryl or Melatonin or a prescription drug given by the vet. 
  • Giving lots of snuggles and cuddles and soothing words may help. (Another strategy that we used.)
  • Didn't happen this year, but if we ever decided to go out (which I highly doubt) be sure to have a loving and reliable dog sitter to stay with your furbabies.
  • Then there is the walk around as if nothing is happening to try to distract them. Do some simple doggie tricks. Things like sit, stay, shake, and down. Be sure to have those little tasty treats handy.

A study done in 2013 by the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences found that fireworks were the most common trigger for fearful behavior in dogs. Sometimes the way we as pet owners respond to our dog's fearful behavior can make it better or worse, as the case may be. The researchers did find that less than a third of owners sought professional advice about a treatment for their pet's response to noises. 

We believe that we did the best we could with this being the first time experiencing such behavior. We both liked to just try to keep them as calm as possible. It just kept us up later than usual and personally, I do not do well with little sleep. In our house today it will be nap time for all.

Winnie the Pooh says it all with these smart words:

Happy Napping!

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