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Pet Ways to Ease Stress
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D. & Jack Murray

Calm Dog

9 Tips to Ease Fido’s Fireworks Stress (and Your Own)

The Fourth of July may be a favorite holiday for most Americans, but it can be a terrifying time of year for the family dog. The sound of fireworks exploding fills Fido with anxiety which will add to your stress. Here are tips to ease your pet’s stress along with your own.

Boom! Poor Fido shakes and runs to hide under the bed.  When this happens, place the oxygen mask over your face before tending to Fido. Use the following easy tips to ease stress. Show Fido there is nothing to fear as you transform your own anxiety into peaceful bliss.

  1. Breathe Deeply

An oldy but goody that truly works. Breathe deeply and slowly for one minute. Inhale confidence with every breath you take and breathe out fear with each slow exhale.  Make sure your tummy moves with each breath.  Counting strategies such as breathing in for the count of three and out for the count of four may help to slow you down.

  1. Listen to Soothing Sounds

Native-American flute, classical music, quiet jazz or soothing sounds from nature can calm anxiety for both you and your pet.  Play at a volume that will drown out some of the fireworks noise but is not too overwhelming to cause stress.

  1. Try Aromatherapy

When I first got our kitten, Sneakers, he was literally bouncing off the walls with pent up energy. One day, I filled a diffuser with lavender aromatherapy essential oil.  Within 15 minutes, he was chillaxed.  He wasn’t sleeping, just calmly resting and looking at the diffuser. Of course, I relaxed as well. The effect lasted for hours.

  1. Pet Your Pet

Hold Fido in your lap and gently pet him. Imagine a white light filling both of you with peace.  Notice the pace of his breathing and breath in the same fashion. Then gradually slow your breathing down.  Your pet may pick up on this subtle cue to slow his breathing down as well.

  1. Treat Yourselves to Treats

Offer a favorite treat to your pet while you slowly, mindfully indulge in a favorite treat of your own.  Make sure you both get plenty of solid nutrition to fee your brain and your body.

  1. Calm Mood with Color

Colors abundant in nature (blues, greens, browns) tend to be calming. When possible, spend time in a room with these colors. Or cover the red couch with a tablecloth or piece of fabric that has more soothing colors.

  1. Get Moving

Limit walks outside to necessary business. Instead, find a quieter room and play with your pet so both of you get some exercise and distraction from the noise.

  1. Speak in Soothing Voice

Assure your pet that everything will be okay. Use the same rational thoughts you use to calm yourself.  For examples, “This will pass.” “Nothing will harm us.” “Tomorrow will be better.” Since Fido can readily sense your anxiety, you need to feel calm yourself.  Then you can project that sense of calm in your voice.

  1. Laugh

Watch a funny YouTube video or read a funny story to lighten both of your moods. Not only does laughter serves as a great distractor, it can ease your stress as well. Make sure to Let Fido watch your laughter.

  1. Read here for more ideas on easing your pet’s stress during Fireworks season.

Unfortunately, fireworks season tends to last most of the summer in many US towns and cities, so it is important to practice these pet ways to ease stress on repeated occasions. On the brighter side, this will give you and Fido a wonderful opportunity to build a closer bond.

Image is under license from Shutterstock.com

 

 

9 Tips to Ease Fido’s Fireworks Stress (and Your Own)


Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. Jack Murray, an award-winning journalist, serves as her co-author, writing coach and editor. Jessica just published a story, "The Queen Who Served" which is included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Cat. Royalties from this book will be donated to American Humane, an organization dedicated to animal welfare.


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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2019). 9 Tips to Ease Fido’s Fireworks Stress (and Your Own). Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/ease-stress/2019/07/9-tips-to-ease-fidos-fireworks-stress-and-your-own/

 

Last updated: 3 Jul 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.