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Anticipating the Potential Stress of Holiday Celebrations      

Dr. Al Townshend

Canada Day and Independence Day have long been traditionally celebrated outdoors with parades, fireworks, family- and community gatherings, good food, and cheer. All have the potential to be extremely stressful on many pets. Anticipating potential stress-threats and preparing for them can avert disaster and help your pet survive the day and possibly have as much fun as the rest of the family.

Loud Noises

Fireworks, horns blowing, sirens blaring, and families cheering are often perceived as a danger by pets. A pet’s hearing is much more sensitive than ours, and such noises can be painful and distressful. To help reduce the potential anxiety, here are a few tips:

  • Exercise just before the fireworks and other loud noises can fill the body with endorphins that help with stress, reduce anxiety, and have a calming effect.
  • Placing the pet in a safe room with closed windows and providing low-level background music can help calm and reduce the effects of loud noises. Slow tempo, classical music has been shown to significantly lower stress levels in animals. 
  • The ThunderShirt is a unique fabric wrap that applies gentle, constant pressure on a pet’s torso. They can play a substantial role in reducing anxiety in approximately 80% of pets who wear them (available for cats and dogs).
  • Natural herb and flower essence supplements can reduce stress and have a calming effect.
  • While these holidays are a celebration and often full of excitement, staying calm around the pet is essential. Pets pick up on human emotion, and excitement can be misinterpreted and create fear.
  • Medications are a last resort for stressed-out pets. Your veterinarian can advise you on which anti-anxiety meds may be suitable. Since holiday noise can’t always be predicted, starting these medications a day before holiday celebrations will assure the medications are in the system and working before any threat.


Any mental or emotional strain or tension can disrupt normal digestive function. In anticipation, beginning a natural Probiotic supplement will help to maintain digestive health.

When Outdoors

Pets that will be outside and fully exposed to the excitement and loud noises should always be on a leash and under control to avoid any unexpected reaction. 

Ensuring the pet has an ID tag, and a microchip can help to quickly recover a pet if there is a fear reaction and a loss of control.


Any time there is a celebration, there is an abundance of food. Often the food is rich and spicy. Dining room tables and picnic tables full of holiday treats can be tempting targets for some pets and have the potential for digestive accidents later in the day. Overflowing garbage cans full of chicken bones and other leftovers can have the same effect.

When food is a part of any gathering of friends and family, there are always those who want the pet to share in the day by treating them to some of the culinary delights. Too much of a good thing can ruin the day for the pet and the Guardians.

Taking the time to anticipate potential problems and making every effort to reduce the risk can make any celebration a joy for both the pet and the Guardians that care for them.

All Pet Planet stores are well stocked with natural solutions, like the ThunderShirt, to anticipate and reduce the effects of stress and loud noises that frequently occur during holiday celebrations. Visit your local Pet Planet here or shop selectively online.

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