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Calming Anxious Pets: Fireworks, Thunderstorms & Monsoons


Independence Day is one of my most feared holidays. Why? Because I know how my pets are going to react – it’s historical fact…  My wolf hybrid taught my coyote to fear fireworks. My coyote taught my Aussie. My Aussie taught my pointer and my pit. Get the picture? Now I have an entire household of animals who are terrified of loud noises.

But over the years, we have learned how to make this time of year as easy as possible on everyone and we now believe we’ll make it through July with nary a problem.

In 2010, Thundershirt did a survey of pet owners and found that two of the most prominent forms of anxiety among dogs were noise and separation from their owners. Loud noises, such as thunder storms (86 percent) and fireworks (74 percent), were the most often cited form of noise anxiety. Here are some other fun facts about pet anxiety:

  • Forty-one percent of the 1,201 dog owners polled said they had at least one dog that currently has or had an anxiety issue.
  • Of the 1,960 dogs owned by those polled, almost 30 had some form of anxiety or fear issue.
  • By applying its findings to 2010 U.S. population estimates, nearly 23 million dogs suffer or have suffered from some sort of anxiety.
  • Dog anxiety issues have impacted 18.6 million U.S. households.
  • 71 percent of the dog owners polled did not feel that it was necessary to address the issue
  • 29 percent did not feel like there was a viable solution and 13 percent felt solutions were too expensive.
  • For those that did address their dog’s anxiety, survey results indicated that more traditional solutions, such as medication, training and avoiding certain circumstances, were the most popular.
  • Dog owners spend, on average, more than $1 billion annually addressing anxiety and fear problems, with more than $240 million going to property damage

The way we make life bearable during this time of year is to have these products on hand:

GPS Tracker

The first line of defense against losing your pet is a GPS Tracker . You know that our favorite is the Tagg unit but if you are camping or hiking out in the wild, you may also consider a radio-based transmitter like the
Your dog has a much higher chance of escaping when they are fearful. Plan for this. Make sure he is wearing a GPS tracker. We prefer the Tagg-The Pet Tracker because your pets can wear it 24/7 and it holds a charge for 30 days. It’s also very accurate. Read more here.

Safety Nook

Prepare a place for your pet to hide away and escape the majority of the noise. S pet safety crate works great for creating a secured “cave” that your pet will feel comfortable in during any event. But, you need to start early. Leave the crate out during the year so your pets have a chance to grow accustomed to it and associate it with safety.

The easiest way to do this is to put a crate in corner of the room in your home that is the most shielded from sounds. Make it cozy, and cover it with a blanket if it won’t make it too warm inside the crate. You could even consider lining the crate with a thick foam pad to further insulate the crate from sound and vibrations, and placing a piece of worn clothing that smells like you will go a long way towards calming pets. Plan to stay nearby, and continue to keep calm and peaceful. Perhaps read a book and make it a time for the two of you to get some rest and relaxation together.

Calming Sprays & Herbal Remedies

If you’re starting off with a pet who is extremely anxious, scared or nervous and you think the celebrating is going to be traumatic for them, you’ll want to take some other measures to help them get through the night (and remember to keep your mental attitude and words calm). Here are some of our recommended options:

Thundershirt and Happy Hoodie

The Thundershirt offers gentle calming pressure on the main t-touch regions to help calm pets during times of anxiety. This is an ideal product to have around during those times you know your dog will be stressing out. Our first line of defense is the Thundershirt line of products. I can’t express how important these are, particularly to dogs. We’ve also had good luck with our cat Thundershirt, but we see a noticeable difference with our dogs.

Also, you may not have heard of this group, but Happy Hoodie is a new set of products that are available online. They look like a headband and work similarly to a Thundershirt. The theory is that the dog feels a bit more protected. While it looks like it would protect the ears from sound, it really doesn’t. The main goal is to make your pet feel more secure during force-drying at the groomers. However, we learned that it keeps pets calm during most all stressful situations.

My Attitude

The more I act like nothing is wrong, the more my pets feel like nothing is wrong. Your attitude is everything during this time of year. The calmer you stay, the more calm your pets will feel as fireworks explode around them. Use this time of year to crank up some soft jazz, make yourself a cup of tea, and curl up with your pets a a good book (like Shepherd’s Moon)! Remember, be calm and in control of the situation – that way your pets won’t feel like they need to be in charge.

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