Fireworks and Dogs

Fireworks and Dogs

Not all dogs are patriotic. If your dog's anxiety about fireworks is mild to moderate, one option is to simply close the windows, pump up some music and confine the pup  to a hiding place or a room as far from the big bangs as possible, such as the basement. Try distracting the dog with food puzzles (a wide array are available at pet stores that dogs must "work" to extract food or treats), or even better a favorite interactive  game, such as tossing a squeaky toy. Some dogs will ride out the noise under a bed or in a corner in a closet, for these dogs the best advice is to let them be....Though they can very much benefit by the two products listed below.

Many dogs do need a little help from products such as ADAPTIL, a copy of a naturally-occurring appeasing pheromone (which acts as a sort of aroma therapy for many dogs), and/or a Thundershirt (a vest designed to soothe their frazzled nerves). ADAPTIL (sold as a collar or plug-in defuser) and the Thundershirt are available at some pet stores and online. Also, many veterinary offices carry ADAPTIL. These products really do work for dogs who aren't totally overcome with fear. For these terrified dogs, consider an quick acting anti anxiety drug to use in the days leading up to July 4 and on Independence Day.

Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Karen Overall, of Philadelphia, PA, points out that a veterinary drug called acepromazine is frequently prescribed for dogs' fear of fireworks, thunderstorms and car rides. However, acepromazine only "dopes up" dogs without addressing their anxiety, she notes. Instead, for dogs who appear downright panicked, it's a good idea to talk with your veterinarian about a true anti-anxiety drug.

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    Hi Steve - Readers should know that they have more than one pressure wrap to choose from.The Anxiety Wrap is another, and in fact it is the original and the only patented pressure wrap. The Anxiety Wrap is the only pressure wrap that uses both maintained pressure (constant pressure) and acupressure to achieve a reduction in anxiety. I have used and recommended the Anxiety Wrap for a couple of years now and have seen consistently effective results in the dogs I have placed it on, including my own dog. In a recent clinical research study conducted by Dr. Nicholas Dodman at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine the Anxiety Wrap was found to be effective in 89% of the study participants (dogs) with thunderstorm phobia. For more information about the Anxiety Wrap, readers can check out the company website (http://www.anxietywrap.com) and this article which compares the various products on the market that are reputed to help with thunderstorm anxiety: http://anxietywrapsays.blogspot.com/2012/02/comparison-of-anxiety-wrap-thundershirt.html
    Cindy Ludwig, M.A., KPA-CTP

  • Or...you can do like I do and call the cops to report illegal fireworks going off in your neighborhood. Seems to work pretty well -- within a half hour of every time I call, the noise quiets down, and so does my dog.

    Obviously this won't work for sanctioned fireworks events, so your suggestions above may work for some. Though I've found in the past that drugs are useless except for making my dog all dopey but still scared and shaking. How about some good old-fashioned togetherness and love from the dog's humans? Think about it: Do you leave your kids alone when they're scared? Dogs are part of the family, too. Maybe dogs would handle it better if we didn't leave them alone on the Fourth of July.

  • You can report illegal fireworks all you want in many places - and the police look the other way.....because it's everywhere, they can't keep up and/or they decide 'oh, it's the 4th - why bother?'

    Also, I want to know what drug you mean - a real anti anxiety doesn't
    'dope' dogs....though it might make some dogs somewhat sleepy....I advise against sedatives and FOR anti anxiety drugs for dogs who are very anxious - there is a difference.

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    Steve,

    One of my pitbulls is terrified of fireworks. He becomes 65 pounds of jello when any loud noises are present. I believe in holistic ways of pet healing and found a great product that doesn't make Blue dopey (well, he's a rather dopey dog to begin with, so I guess I should say more dopey than the norm, LOL), is natural, and works awesome! It's called Happy Traveler by Ark Naturals. My husband and I always joke around that it's his "courage in a pill" You should check it out!

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