There are ways to desensitize a pet to fireworks and related noise, but it takes time and preplanning. If this holiday is right around the corner, there are a couple of things owners can do to assist their pets through this short period of potential trauma.
Pet owners have to understand that comforting their pet, although done with good intentions, can actually reinforce the fear and panic. You could call it 'training by accident' so it is best to refrain from that activity. Reassuring your pet is different from the cuddling, petting, holding, and trying to physically relieve the stress. It is best to soothe your pet by your tone of voice and by remaining calm. The age of your pet, socialization, experience, and breed can also influence their reactions.
The best preparations, that you can use at such short notice, is to make sure that your pet has ID tags with current information on them, and that they are safely secured both before and through the holiday period.
Other Options can include:
- crate your pet at home
- kennel the pet professionally
- keep the pet confined/restrained indoors
- use drug therapy (tranquilizers/anti-anxiety medications as prescribed from your veterinarian)
- use alternative therapy (your holistic veterinarian or therapist will provide a list)
- play classical music or jazz to soothe pets and camouflage other noises
Long periods alone in a crate should be avoided. Some dogs will not like being confined if you do this too quickly and many will protest by howling, whining, barking, and pitching a fit.
If you have the time, it is best to gradually train pets to "crate." Put food or a treat in the kennel with the door secured in an open position. A kong filled with peanut butter is a great toy & reward for crate training.
If you are using a room in the home, the best one to restrain an animal in is the bathroom, laundry room, or secure garage. The room to choose is one where there are no windows to jump through, or where they can be blocked off, and are too high and narrow to access. Be sure to play soothing music at a level that helps drown out the firework noise. It is ideal if a family member can be at home with the animal through this time.