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Written by Jennifer Ng, DVM

Willow —- Photo courtesy of Jennifer Ng, DVM

 

Here’s my usual fireworks PSA. A little difficult to write this time as it will be my first fireworks holiday without a dog with noise phobia in many years. In memory of Willow, running free at the Bridge, never to be scared by storms or fireworks again.
With July 4th just around the corner, I hope everyone with a dog who is afraid of fireworks has a plan in place. There are a lot of options depending on how bad the anxiety is.
If this will be the first time your dog has experienced fireworks, or if your dog is just a little startled and worried but not overly anxious, you can start with some management and training techniques. Start by taking your dog out for a last potty trip before it gets dark so you won’t have go while people are setting off fireworks. Turn on the TV or radio so that there is some background noise.
How you respond and act during the fireworks can have a big affect on your dog’s reaction. Act calm and confident like it’s no big deal. If your dog is only mildly concerned, you can help prevent it from developing into a real problem by acting like it’s fun and exciting and immediately giving the dog a treat every time you hear any fireworks noise.
For dogs that are already mildly to moderately anxious with fireworks based on past experience, natural calming supplements can help. There are a number of products on the market, such as Composure Pro, Solliquin, Zylkene, melatonin, or Rescue Remedy. A lot of dogs also respond well to Thundershirts.
For more severe anxiety, talk to your vet about prescription medications like Sileo, trazodone, Valium, or Xanax. Just please avoid acepromazine, which only immobilizes the dog without providing any anxiety relief and can actually worsen noise phobias. Hope everyone enjoys the holiday and keep your dogs safe and happy!
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Willow, Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Ng.

 

Written by Jennifer Ng, DVM and greyhound owner.
Here’s my usual fireworks PSA. A little difficult to write this time as it will be my first fireworks holiday without a dog with noise phobia in many years. In memory of Willow, running free at the Bridge, never to be scared by storms or fireworks again.

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With July 4th just around the corner, I hope everyone with a dog who is afraid of fireworks has a plan in place. There are a lot of options depending on how bad the anxiety is.
If this will be the first time your dog has experienced fireworks, or if your dog is just a little startled and worried but not overly anxious, you can start with some management and training techniques. Start by taking your dog out for a last potty trip before it gets dark so you won’t have go while people are setting off fireworks. Turn on the TV or radio so that there is some background noise.
How you respond and act during the fireworks can have a big affect on your dog’s reaction. Act calm and confident like it’s no big deal. If your dog is only mildly concerned, you can help prevent it from developing into a real problem by acting like it’s fun and exciting and immediately giving the dog a treat every time you hear any fireworks noise.
For dogs that are already mildly to moderately anxious with fireworks based on past experience, natural calming supplements can help. There are a number of products on the market, such as Composure Pro, Solliquin, Zylkene, melatonin, or Rescue Remedy. A lot of dogs also respond well to Thundershirts.
For more severe anxiety, talk to your vet about prescription medications like Sileo, trazodone, Valium, or Xanax. Just please avoid acepromazine, which only immobilizes the dog without providing any anxiety relief and can actually worsen noise phobias. Hope everyone enjoys the holiday and keep your dogs safe and happy!
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Willow

Article Written By Jennifer Ng, DVM

Like many dogs, my girl Willow is afraid of storms and fireworks. We’ve experimented with a number of natural remedies and anti-anxiety medications over the years and have a pretty good system in place now to get her through storms and fireworks with as little stress as possible.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on various groups recently about the upcoming 4th of July fireworks and concerns about their affect on our dogs. Especially if you have a dog you know will stress out over fireworks, please talk to your vet about options to help. This goes for dogs that are afraid of thunderstorms too. So many good choices these days to reduce anxiety so dogs don’t have to suffer as much through these events.

If your dog’s anxiety is mild to moderate, natural options like the Thundershirt or various calming remedies and supplements may be enough to help. But if your dog is severely anxious or panicked by storms and fireworks, the natural options likely won’t be enough. Fortunately, there are a number of safe anti-anxiety medications available these days. Ask your vet about the new FDA-approved medication called Sileo. Your vet might also recommend options like Xanax, Valium, or trazodone, which are human medications available at most pharmacies.

Some vets who are not very experienced with behavioral therapy may still recommend acepromazine, but it is best to avoid this drug. It doesn’t relieve anxiety and essentially just immobilizes the dog so that they can’t respond. This can cause the dog become more frightened and can increase noise sensitivity. A lot of dogs can also be very sedated on acepromazine for hours afterward. So if your vet suggests “ace”, ask if they’d be willing to prescribe one of the other options.

 

 

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It’s that time of year again. The 4th of July is only a few weeks away, and now is the time to talk to your vet if your dog is afraid of fireworks and might need a little help to get through the holiday. There are many options in the form of calming supplements, anxiety wraps, and prescription medications that can help reduce your dog’s stress.

 

Let’s Talk About Dogs and Fireworks

By Patricia McConnell

Oh boy, July 4th fireworks are coming soon! What fun, hey? That is, if you are a human. Not so much if you are a dog. We may all be best friends, but keep in mind that we don’t share everything. People don’t like to roll in cow pies or dead fish, and dogs don’t enjoy fireworks, so consider these important tips before the July 4th festivities begin:

1.  First and foremost, don’t take your dog out to a July 4th celebration! Period. Even super stable dogs who appear oblivious to loud sounds can be affected by just one especially loud boom. Sometimes you won’t see the symptoms until long after the event, so don’t assume a dog who looks “just fine” isn’t being affected by loud noises.

2.  Better safe than sorry: Be sure that your dog has identification on at all times. Even the most responsible of owners can end up with a dog who slips its collar and runs away (or goes out of a window) during an especially loud burst of sound. Many dogs are lost during firework displays and thunderstorms; don’t let it be one of yours.

3.  If you know that your dog is sound sensitive, plan ahead. Stay home if you can, keep your dog in a quiet place as far away from exterior walls and windows as possible, and consider a range of tools to help a fearful dog cope, from body wraps like “Thundershirts” to soothing music to medication for truly serious cases (for more information, see links below).

4.  Be aware that “thunder phobia” and “fear of fireworks” are similar conditions. Both are caused by dogs being startled by abrupt, loud noises. For more information on how to treat and prevent sound sensitivity, see my articles on Thunder Phobia in The Reading Room…

5.  If you’re having house guests over for the holidays and your dog enjoys socializing, remember to still give her some alone time in a quiet place. Even the life of the party gets tired after awhile.

If you want to read more about how to keep your dog(s) safe, happy, and healthy during holidays, travel, or when you leave him with a sitter, check out this section in The Reading Room.

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Greyhounds 4th of July Cindy Duffala

Courtesy of Cindy Duffala

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Krak Eaton

Krak wants to remind all greyhound parents it’s that time of year again…Time when some greyhounds get so frightened by the boom and crackle of FIREWORKS that they shake and hide and go to the bathroom in unfortunate places.

Veterinarians say dogs seem to take Independence Day the hardest.
A fireworks-spooked  greyhound may, when given the chance, take off and just keep running, and by the time he stops, he is lost and can’t find his way home.

The first step in helping a skittish hound survive Independence Day is to be there for her/him.  Our greyhounds feel safest at home with their family around them.   TLC goes a long way in easing anxiety.  Speak calmly to your hound and offer a soft massage.    Some dogs also get less anxious when they can have treats, but don’t overdo it.   Try different things to distract them from overreacting to the stimulus.

If your greyhound will be left alone on the Fourth, try confining him to a quiet, dark room so that he can feel a bit safer.    An interior room that is well-insulated from outside noise is best.    Leave a television or radio on in the room to provide a distraction and help drown out the sudden boom of fireworks.    If your dog is used to sleeping in a crate, consider that as an option as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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