8 Ways to Calm Down an Anxious Pet, Especially During Fireworks or on a Trip to the Vet
Research tells us that stress can have a bad effect on our pets’ health if we don’t take extra care to look after them, which is especially true for dogs. Because of this, it’s incredibly important to be attentive and to support our pets when they’re in stressful situations.
For this reason, Bright Side has collected some methods that were proven effective to help your pet in difficult situations.
1. Comfort your pet during fireworks.
If you see that your pet is anxious because of fireworks, it’s best to be attentive to their needs by focusing on them. Instead of watching the fireworks, comfort your pet using a technique that works for the both of you.
2. Use an anxiety wrap.
You can make your own anxiety wrap for your dog using a scarf or blanket. This “swaddle” can help to keep your dog calm when you expect it to become scared by loud noises. It’s essentially a big hug that keeps their stress levels low.
It’s best to put the wrap on before the anticipated noise starts to make sure that they remain as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
3. Give your dog a “pick up” cue.
A trip to the vet can be stressful on our doggies, but one thing that can help is to teach them that you will pick them up if they don’t like being picked up.
Simply give them a cue, such as saying the words “pick up” before lifting them up, and give them a treat as a reward. This can come in handy at the vet’s office to help keep your dog as calm as possible.
4. Play them music.
Playing music for cats can help them manage their stress levels, especially at the vet’s office, according to one recent study. Research says that music can also work on dogs to relax them in stressful situations. There’s even dog reggae to keep them distracted and calm when they’re feeling overwhelmed, like during firework shows.
5. Desensitize dogs to scary sounds.
It’s been recommended to play sounds that pets find particularly distressing on a low volume a couple of times a week. This could be a recording of the vacuum cleaner or thunderstorms, but over time, they’ll overcome their fear. Make sure that the pet is settled down in a comfortable area with a nice distraction before softly starting the recording.
6. Give them treats at the vet.
Let your pet associate the vet with good things by rewarding them with extra special treats that you wouldn’t normally give them at home. Following any distressing event at the vet, like an injection or having them stand on a scale, give them their treat.
7. Practice going on trips to the vet.
All of the handling at the vet’s office can be overwhelming for our pets, so to help them stay calm, you can practice what you can with them at home. Familiarize them with some of the things they’d experience there, like brushing their teeth and clipping their nails. This contact is different than petting and can help your pet to understand more about what’s happening to them during routine vet checks.
8. Feed them less the day before a trip to the vet.
It’s recommended to feed your pet less than usual before a visit to the vet so that they will respond better to rewards once you arrive. This can help them to relax as they’ll be distracted by their tasty treats which will help them to cooperate better. Of course, don’t withhold too much food and consider your pet’s welfare.
Do you have any tips to share with us that work every time? Please share photos of your cuddly (or not-so-cuddly) pets in the comments, we’d all love to see them!