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Posted on 06-23-2016
July 4th Celebrations Can Be
Frightening For Your Pet
by Dr. Amy I. Attas
If your dog seems anxious or afraid of fireworks, which is not uncommon, it’s time to start preparing for them now. We now know that many anxious pets can be calmed during thunder or the sound of fireworks by wearing a tight-fitting garment that maintains pressure around the core of the body.
The same principle used for centuries to swaddle and comfort infants has been known to help relieve stress and anxiety in both children and adults, and now there is a product designed to help our pets in the same way. Thundershirt (www.ThunderShirt.com) has made a product that is easy to buy and to use, not to mention that it has donated thousands of their products to animal shelters throughout the country. If you are considering the option of a tight ‘comfort garment’, I think it’s best to purchase and use a Thundershirt several weeks in advance of the firework display to let your dog get comfortable wearing the shirt before you are all in the excitement of the moment.
Here are some other hints that might help during loud events. Most dogs prefer to be as far from fireworks as possible, so set them up in the quietest room, preferably one without a window — a bathroom or even a closet might work. If they are trained to be comfortable in their crate, it’s a smart
idea to get them settled in before the fireworks begin, otherwise a comfy and familiar bed is a good idea. Add a favorite toy or treat. And I recommend stuffing a Kong (www.kongcompany.com) whose open center holds some peanut butter or a piece of cheese. It takes time to get the delicious goody out of the Kong, and this can serve as a distraction from the noise. You might also try playing soft music or using a white noise machine to lessen the effects of the explosive sounds. Very frightened pets can also be medicated with anti-anxiety medication, but it is, of course, very important to speak with City Pets or with your veterinarian to determine whether this is a good solution for your particular pet. Do not medicate a pet without a veterinarian’s say-so.
Recognizing that the celebration of a holiday with fireworks may be less fun for your pet than for you is the first step in helping to solve the problem. And with the thunderstorms that this season often brings, you may find here a method that helps you both through the long, hot summer.
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