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If your pet spent last July Fourth quivering in fear, you might want to spend some time now prepping for this year’s fireworks show. To avoid a repeat of last year, the team at Northgate Animal Hospital has prepared a step-by-step guide for you to follow to help desensitize your pet to fireworks and soothe their anxiety.

Step 1: Discover your pet’s favorite treat

A high-value treat goes a long way toward helping your pet focus on food rather than terrifying sounds. Learn which treat works best for your pet, such as spray cheese, dried liver, or small pieces of steak. Then, stock up on their favorite and reward them with that particular treat only during the firework desensitization process.

Step 2: Play fireworks music softly for your pet

Armed with the treats, softly play a soundtrack of different firework sounds. Keep the volume at a level that piques your pet’s interest but does not cause them to show anxiety signs, like heavy panting, drooling, hiding, or whining. When your pet begins to listen to the sounds without reacting negatively, offer them rewards. Some pets may respond better to a particular toy, but the majority of pets will prefer food.

Step 3: Increase the volume but keep your pet calm

Once your pet is comfortable at the initial volume, slowly increase the volume and play fireworks music, including a wide range of booms, shrieks, and pops. Desensitization sessions should occur daily for only a few minutes, always ensuring you end on a positive note. This process may take weeks until your pet is comfortable hearing fireworks at a loud volume, so begin now.

If you find that even after following this step-by-step guide and practicing desensitization for the next couple of weeks and your pet still flies into a frenzy when they hear fireworks, they likely need veterinary help. Contact our team to schedule a behavior consultation, so we can get your furry pal relief before the fireworks begin.