Keep your pets calm during fireworks

Published 8:45 am Saturday, July 2, 2016

Fireworks season can be a time of anxiety for our pets. Without understanding these noises, animals become scared, frantic, and can even run away if not kept safely indoors.

According to national statistics, Animal Control Services see a 30 percent increase in lost pets around the summer fireworks season, so it is vitally important to ensure your dog or cat feels safe and secure during fireworks.

If your pet is lost, or you find a scared pet, you can place free 4 line lost & found ad in the Salisbury Post. Visit this link http://marketplace.salisburypost.com/Salisbury/ and click on Notices. You can also visit our Lost & Found Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/RowanCountyLostAndFound)

So what does stress look like in our four-legged friends?

Here are just some of the signs that your dog could be stressed, although different dogs will present anxiety in different ways.

  • Panting
  • Pinned Ears
  • Avoidance
  • Low tail carriage
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Restlessness or pacing
  • Refusal of food
  • Scratching and over-grooming

And here’s how you can reduce your dog’s anxiety during firework season

  • Keep your dog inside with all doors and windows closed.
  • Avoid leaving your dog alone when fireworks displays are going off outside.
  • Set up a safe area: a bed or crate with familiar smells, sounds and toys.
  • Take your dog on a long walk during the day so they are more inclined to rest during the evening.
  • Put the television on or play music to create a distraction.
  • • Stay calm yourself! Act normally and give lots of praise for calm behavior.

The dog behavioral experts at OneMind Dogs (https://www.oneminddogs.com/)—a  dog teaching method out of Finland —are sharing three secrets that will help both you and your dog breathe easy on July 4.

Exude a calm attitude — Dogs automatically associate the emotion surrounding an experience with the event itself, so if you’re alarmed by the fireworks or worried about keeping Fido calm, he will be, too.  If you maintain an upbeat, serene attitude, your dog will mirror that behavior.

Lead with body language — While soothing words can help calm your own nerves, body language is what your dog naturally understands and responds to first.  Communicate to your pooch that it’s okay to hide in a safe place by showing him where to go.

Reassure with small treat portions  — Reward your dog throughout the day using smaller bits of treats.  To keep your dog interested in remaining calm and following your lead, spend time finding which treat works best as an incentive.

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