Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Independence Day is right around the corner and for some pet parents, preparation starts right now. If your pup has an adversity to loud noises, this holiday can take quite a toll on the both of you. Here are a few ways you can help your pet cope with their firework anxiety this year, and for years to come.
Many pet parents turn to medication to settle their dog’s nerves. There are a couple of different routes you can take.
Ask your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications for your dog. Be sure to take any medication for a “test drive” before the big day so that you can get the proper dosage and know how it affects your dog. Not all medications work on every dog in the way that they are intended. For example, Becky’s dogs have the opposite reaction to Diazepam (Valium). Instead of calming them down as it should, it makes them very high strung and the Fourth of July becomes even more stressful.
With the holistic health craze, there is no shortage of natural supplements available to help your dog with anxiety. But with so many to choose from, it’s hard to single out the ones that actually work. Pay close attention to the reviews on the products you’re thinking of using and make sure you buy name brand, not generic.
One supplement that I have seen work first hand is Thunder Wunders Hemp Calming Chews for Dogs. It is from Thunderworks, the creators of the ever-famed Thunder Shirt. The supplement boasts a combination of thiamine, L-Tryptophan and passion fruit to help relieve tension and improve mood, melatonin to help with relaxation, and ginger root to help settle upset tummies that can accompany anxiety. One of our clients uses it for her dog’s extreme crate anxiety and I actually use it to help my husky stay calm on road trips. It works great for both of them!
Even with natural supplements, it is still important to take them for a “test drive” to make sure they work for your dog. Always start with the lowest dose, regardless of what the weight suggestion is, and work your way up until you get the desired results. My husky’s travel anxiety was diminished after having only half of the recommended dose for a dog his weight.
Whether in combination with medication or by itself, a doggy bunker is a great way to help keep your pet at ease during a stressful time.
Set up your dog’s bunker in the room where they feel the safest. The room they sleep in or in their crate will do just fine.
Items that they find comforting. Their favorite toy, something to chew on that isn’t a choking hazard (no rawhide), maybe their bed, and something that smells like you! Your scent will make them feel less isolated. Throw in the shirt that you sleep in or the one that you wore to the gym yesterday.
If you have decided to build your dog’s bunker in their crate, covering it with a blanket can make them feel a little more secure. Sitting in a crate while staring at a big empty room can be pretty terrifying even without loud noises.
Feed your dog early! Some dogs get so nervous that they refuse to touch their food, or they gulp it up just to vomit when they start to feel anxious. Feed them with plenty of time to relax, digest, and go to the bathroom before the fireworks start. About two hours should give them enough time.
Never let your dog have run of the house when you know they will be scared because they may try to escape when someone opens the front door. Shutting them in a room or putting them in their crate is your safest bet.
Please don’t punish your dog if they have an accident in the house during the fireworks show. They couldn’t help it! Anxiety sometimes causes loss of bladder and bowel control. Punishing them will only make their situational anxiety worse in the long run. It requires neither a reward nor a punishment. Just clean it up while they’re not watching, and move on.