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Pet Distress: How to Keep Pets Calm During Summer Activities | Hastings Veterinary Hospital

Pet Distress: How to Keep Pets Calm During Summer Activities

Summer is the time of year when most families get a chance to let loose, possibly travel, or have guests visiting from out of town, and maybe enjoy some fireworks to boot! This includes your fur babies as well, but unlike you they may not take to these goings-on as easily as you may think.

Your pets can get stressed out and overwhelmed by things such as new smells, new people, having their daily routine interrupted, and especially loud noises such as fireworks. This is why we think now is a good time to help teach you how to keep pets calm.

Leaving Your Pet at Home?

If you decide that you are going to leave your pets at home while on vacation, and don’t want to put them in a kennel, finding a good pet sitter can be a massive help to alleviate any stress your pet may have. Finding one that can stay at the house is a bonus. It helps to keep their routine and they feel safe with someone there in the house with them, especially at night. Plus, the bonus of playtime and cuddles makes for a happy fur baby.

If a pet sitter can’t be found in time for your departure, you can also consider pet boarding from your local kennel or vet office. It’s best to contact your veterinarian beforehand to ensure your pet gets the right care and attention they need.

Tips for Travelling With Your Pet

Research: This is especially necessary for flying on an airplane. Make sure you are aware of what vaccines your pet requires and what documentation is needed by the airline. Some airlines do allow for small pets to accompany their owners and may be kept under their seat in the proper carrier. Otherwise, your pet will be in the cargo hold so be sure you know what carrier/crate is needed.

Comfort Zone: There are pheromone products which you can spray into their carrier and on their blankets which help create a sense of security and calm for your pets.

ID: In the off chance your pet does become stressed out enough to flee, be sure they have tags and/or are microchipped and/or ear tattooed with the appropriate contact information for you, so they may be located and returned safely.

Is Your Aunt Betty Coming to Visit for the First Time?

When you have new people visiting, your pet may get stressed as they aren’t used to them. Here are a few tips to alleviate their anxiety:

Space: When your guests arrive, be sure to give your pets some space in a separate room. Wait until they’re ready to meet new people and decide they want to come out.

Sense of Calm: Again, set up a space for your pets that is safe, where they are going to be comfortable, and where they can meet your new visitors.

Play Nice: One way to introduce your pet to your guests is by giving them a favourite treat or toy to play with to associate the interaction with being fun rather than intimidating. Be sure to teach young children to be gentle when petting and playing and not to bother your pet while they are eating and sleeping.

Manage Interactions: Minimize your pets’ stress by keeping your pet and their litterbox, food bowls, and water bowls in a separate part of the house so your visitors don’t have access, especially when you aren’t home.

Expecting Fireworks Nearby?

Loud noises can startle and cause stress in your pets, especially thunderstorms and summer activities such as fireworks. Here’s how to help get your pets used to the loud noises:

  • Stay positive. Help find your pet a place to settle, where they are most comfortable and where they are going to be during the event. If they are going to be at home, perhaps choose a corner of the living room. If you are taking them out, maybe a favourite blanket near some trees. Scolding or punishing their behaviour during these situations just escalates the stress, so try and be comforting to your pet.
  • To get your pet accustomed to these sounds, find an audio recording and play it at low level while they are in their comfort zone, calm, and playing with a toy or eating a treat. As your pet becomes more familiar with these sounds they will start to ignore them and focus on the toy or treat.
  • Gradually increase the volume and practice where they are going to be during the actual event, in their comfort zone. Keep things slow and positive.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Hastings Veterinary Hospital and a clickable link back to this page.


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