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Summer means fun and games for many families, but it can also present its share of stressful circumstances. Animals can feel stress just as keenly as humans, meaning that the furry family member in your home might experience anxiety or fear, even during situations that might prove thrilling or relaxing for the rest of you.
Once you know how to recognize summertime stress triggers for your pet, you can stand ready with the right responses and remedies to ease (or possibly even prevent) the resulting anxiety attacks. Pay special attention to the following four causes of summertime stress for pets.
1. Holiday Fireworks
Fireworks displays can light up a Fourth of July, but they can also trigger intense fear reactions in pets unaccustomed to sudden, loud, percussive noises going off at random intervals. If your pet has this problem, they may run for cover during a fireworks event, becoming lost and disoriented in the process.
First and foremost, you should take precautions to prevent your pet from disappearing or even getting injured due to fireworks. Keep your pet indoors during any holiday or holiday weekend that might involve local fireworks displays. Microchip your pet in advance so that if they do panic and run, you have a better chance of locating them.
You can desensitize younger pets to loud noises through techniques such as sound therapy, using audio programs specially designed for that purpose. To calm older pets, create a safe hiding place equipped with a heavy blanket or bed that offers tactile comfort. You can also try covering the sounds of the fireworks with music or TV audio.
2. Seasonal Storms
Summertime usually includes some obnoxious weather, and not only in terms of heat. Temperature and pressure fluctuations in the atmosphere can create violent storms that include heavy rain, hail, lightning, and thunder. Thunder, in particular, can frighten pets and leave them with lingering anxiety as they dread the next thunderbolt.
Since summer storms occur on a much less predictable (and much more frequent) schedule than holiday fireworks shows, you'll want to maintain a ready-made safe place for your pet at all times, complete with a soothing bed or blanket. Severely chronically anxious pets might require medication from your veterinarian.
3. Summer Road Trips
Pets often enjoy playing in new outdoor locations and reuniting with beloved relatives. Unfortunately, the actual road trips that make these activities possible can prove stressful for some animals. Your pet may suffer from motion sickness, associate previous car trips with unhappy times, or simply not feel used to riding in a vehicle.
Your vet can prescribe drugs that ease medical conditions such as motion sickness. For other anxiety triggers, try a slow process of getting your pet used to car rides. Stock a backseat crate with favorite toys and soothing bedding to make the experience more comfortable. Additionally, a brisk workout just before a trip can release pent-up energy.
4. Vacation Isolation
You might decide to deal with your pet's travel anxiety by leaving them in the familiar surroundings and comfort of the family home until you return, with a friend or neighbor providing daily visits and feedings. Unfortunately, this strategy can work against you by triggering a feeling of abandonment in your pet, resulting in separation anxiety.
You can often reduce a pet's vulnerability to this problem by slowly exposing them to increasing periods of alone time until they feel less anxious about isolation. Better yet, consider boarding your pet in a facility that offers regular affection and companionship. Many facilities let you supply your pet with favorite blankets, toys, or treats.
Pawsitive Comfort can provide you with soothing pet blankets and other products to help your pet enjoy a safer, happier, less stressful summer. Take a look at our online catalog and then contact us with any questions you may have.