Posts Tagged ‘4th of July’

Preparing for the Holiday Fireworks

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
Storm nervousness

Not Looking Forward to the 4th of July

In anticipation of the Fourth of July holiday, people in our neighborhood are testing their firecrackers and causing fear and anxiety in one of my two canine office mates. It will likely be even worse this weekend. And, of course, even after the holiday, loud noises that frighten some dogs, including one of mine, can be expected to continue as thunderstorms are more common during the summer months.

When we are out walking and Coco hears loud noises (airplanes overhead, firecrackers, thunder), she immediately turns around and starts pulling on her leash to lead us home, where she feels safe. Henry is fine, but Coco does not like loud noises, although she doesn’t seem to mind sirens. When she hears a noise, and her hearing is much better than mine, she prefers to be safe in her home. And once home, or in the office, she tends to be very cling-y, following me room to room and jumping into my lap when I am at my desk, attempting to type on the computer keyboard.

If you have pets in your office, you might have to prepare for some mild pet anxiety that could interfere with your work as thunderstorms happen or people celebrate the summer months with firecrackers. I have found the following approaches to be helpful:

  • Keep the pets inside during fireworks or storms and stay close to them. If I have any flexibility in my schedule, I move appointments around so I can be in the office with Coco during a storm as she does become very anxious (excessive lip licking is the first sign) at that time. Make sure your ID tags and microchip information is current as, in the event a fearful dog bolts, you want to make it easier for someone to return your pet to you.
  • Get your exercise before the storm – it avoids the need to go out later as the rolling thunderstorms approach and gets the dog tired, which makes the anxiety easier to manage. Ideally, I’d have Coco so tired she’d sleep right through the storm. Keep the windows and doors closed to block out as much noise as possible.
  • Sometimes providing a safe place, like a comfortable pet bed or crate, or a toy can offer reassurance to a fearful dog. It doesn’t work for me, Coco loses her appetite when she is fearful, but I am told treats reassure other nervous dogs. Thundershirts, which are like compression garments for dogs, can also help.
  • Go about your day as you normally would. If you appear anxious, your dog will pick up on that and her anxiety will be even worse. To that end, I always make sure I do my grocery shopping in advance of a storm forecast. Because I get anxious about being out on the road when there is a thunderstorm.