It won’t be long until July Fourth rolls around again this year. If last year’s fireworks festivities had your dog shaking in anxiety and fear, you might want to start desensitizing your furry pal to fireworks now to avoid another repeat this year. Here are three steps you can take to help soothe your pet’s fireworks fear.
Step 1: Discover your pet’s favorite treat
A high-value treat goes a long way toward helping your pet focus on food rather than terrifying sounds. Learn which treat works best for your pet, such as spray cheese, dried liver, or small pieces of steak. Then, stock up on their favorite and reward them with that particular treat only during the firework desensitization process.
Step 2: Play fireworks music softly for your pet
Armed with the treats, softly play a soundtrack of different firework sounds. Keep the volume at a level that piques your pet’s interest but does not cause them to show anxiety signs, like heavy panting, drooling, hiding, or whining. When your pet begins to listen to the sounds without reacting negatively, offer them rewards. Some pets may respond better to a particular toy, but the majority of pets will prefer food.
Step 3: Increase the volume but keep your pet calm
Once your pet is comfortable at the initial volume, slowly increase the volume and play fireworks music that includes a wide range of booms, shrieks, and pops. Desensitization sessions should occur daily for only a few minutes, always ensuring you end on a positive note. This process may take weeks until your pet is comfortable hearing fireworks at a loud volume, so begin now.
Try out this step-by-step guide and see if your furry pal quivers less at the sound of fireworks. Make sure to treat and praise your pet plenty and to watch for what visual clues they may be giving you. If they continue to shake endlessly even despite your best efforts, then it may be time to ask for veterinary help.