Pet Care Tips During Fireworks

Dogs & Fireworks Pet Safety Tips

Does your pet cower, quiver, behave frantically or become destructive in response to noise? Noise phobia triggered by fireworks, garbage trucks, and thunder storms need behavior modification. You can temporarily address these problems quickly with a few pet precautions.

Pets exhibit noise phobia differently and so while some critters might just hide under furniture, many may become destructive to the environment and often injure themselves as well. All negative responses come from diverse triggers and the age of your pet, socialization, experience, and breed can also influence their reactions.

Accidental reinforcement can escalate the symptoms of this pet problem so avoid cuddling, petting, holding, and attempting to physically relieve the stress. Good verbal reassurance is okay as it doesn’t usually reinforce stress behavior.

Generally, animals with an established history of problems will likely worsen while elderly animals may get better simply because they lose their hearing. There are ways to work through noise phobia exhibited before and during thunderstorms or throughout firework displays, but it takes time and preparation. In the meantime use some quick tips and tools to address the problem behavior prior to any holidays or events where fireworks are prevalent.

Quick Tips:
• Keep your animals inside during the fireworks event and for a few days to a week prior to the holiday.
• Make sure you have a tag with current information on your pet during this time.
• If you take your animal outside for toileting or any other activity, make sure he or she is under physical restraint via a collar and leash.
• Leave your pets safely at home instead of taking them to picnics or other holiday events.
• Play music or turn on a radio station with soothing music to help mask outside noises.
• Buy a plug-in Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) dispenser. This permeates the air and helps reduces fear and anxiety.
• Keep your pet busy with activities or chew items before the height of noise making occurs.
• Create a safe haven. If your animal is habituated to a crate, you may want to provide access for security. Some animals want to hide and will feel safe in a favorite spot, like under the bed. You can create sleeping bag tunnel or similar option for them.
• Plan a party and play instead of participating in other events. Making new traditions can be fun and helpful for your pet.
• Consider boarding your pet at a professional kennel for the holiday.
• Be sure to also watch guests–an open door or gate can provide an opportunity for animals to bolt outside.
• When you can, hire a behavior professional to help you solve noise phobia for the long term.
• Pet owners should always check with their veterinarian or behavior specialist before using any drugs or tranquilizers. Ask your veterinary medical professional for his or her recommendation about melatonin, an oral neurohormone, or additional suggestions on psycho-pharmaceuticals which might provide help for sensitive animals.
• If you prefer alternative therapies, don’t just decide to do it on your own as animals are sensitive. For best advice, contact a holistic veterinarian about flower remedies or essences. Five Flower® or Rescue Remedy® are two essences often used to help reduce anxiety and when properly used, some essential oils may be helpful.

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About ARKlady: Diana L Guerrero (aka ARKlady) lives on the Central Coast of California by the sea. An author, animal whisperer and wildlife interpreter, her first word was “fish.” Known locally as “DGinPG,” she is a friend of the furred, feathered and finned. With a goal of enriching the lives of animals (both wild and tame) and empowering the humans that love them, she shares a lifetime of professional experience and specialty training with animal lovers–who are not only passionate about animals but that want to make a difference in their lives and in the world in which they live. Is that is you? Consider this an invitation to join Diana for a new type of animal adventure–those designed to change animal lives and to change yours in the process.

Who’s Your Daddy?

Father’s Day is upon us once again and I thought I would talk a little bit about a couple of unique animal fathers that exist out there in the animal world.
Animal Father's Rhea - ARKanimalsCom
In the animal kingdom the males of many species usually do not stick around to help with their offspring. The drive behind this is to spread their genes with little investment of time or energy.

The female’s role is different since she is invested in the survival of her genes. Usually it is she who carries, nurtures, guards, and teaches her youngsters so they have a better chance of long term survival so her genes get carried forward.

Nature has some adaptions that people don’t like such as synchrony of cycles in female groups such as in African lions.

If a new male takes over the pride he usually kills the offspring of the previous pride male. This causes the females to cycle again. He then mates and his genes are passed on to a new generation. He does protect those cubs–but when it comes to other activities he can be a bit lazy.

Of course there are also those aberrant fathers such as the Grizzly bear–who actually attempt to kill cubs in their territory.

This action removes their genes from the genetic pool but also is thought to keep the bear population down (narrowing competition) if he is successful in his attacks.

However, there are males that help rear young. So, I thought I’d mention a couple in honor of Father’s Day.

Rheas are large, flightless birds native to South America known as ratites. Most people do not know that rhea chicks are raised by their fathers, who also incubate the eggs.

The National Zoo’s rhea chicks sleep nestled in their father’s feathers on his back. During their daily meandering dad guards over them and warns of danger through a rapid clacking of his bill to bring them all running back under his wings.

Red Fox
The Red Fox dad looks after his vixen who stays in the den for the first month after the birth of her litter.

He feeds her until his offspring come out of the den. Then he spends time, not only teaching them, but playing too.

In a few months the male helps train them to find food and shares survival skills to help them become more independent.

Of course there are other great animal fathers out there. Do you have a favorite? If so please comment below.

Rhea Father & Chicks Photo Copyright & Courtesy of Mehgan Murphy & The National Zoo.