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Tips for Seeing Your Pet Through the 4th. July 3, 2012

Posted by acroanmph in Public Health.
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dogs, pets, fireworks, calm, holiday, vet

My pup, Roxy

Independence Day doesn’t feel so independent when your pet is roped to you with an invisible short leash.

It’s obvious the animals are already anxious about the 4th.

My 4 year-old flat-coat lab sits on my feet whether I’m sitting or standing, and is shaking like crazy every time a firecracker goes off, and can barely bring herself to eat. This is a definite red flag.

Once in a while she runs up to my shower and lies down there. I shied away from sedatives for the big day, knowing my dog would still feel just as anxious, but her bodily reactions would be hampered. I do not believe that a sedative would create calm in my dog. A call to my vet lent me some useful suggestions. Here’s what you can do to avoid medicating your pet and — yes, dependently surviving our upcoming holiday.

  • Spending the holiday with friends? Take your pet! S/he requires a safe and secure environment and mostly this means being with you. If you have a crate your pet is used to, bring it and stow them for limited periods to create a sense of familiarity and normalcy.
  • Keep them in a quiet room with a fan and white noise or background music with a heavy beat to mute external noise. If possible, pair your pet with a calm companion.
  • Keep an eye out. Animals have a keen sense of events to come. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the amazing phenomenon of an exponential amount of “lost pet” ads just prior to the massive quake of 1906.
  • Cool water. Our canine friends will not tolerate heat as well as we do. Do not provide ice or ice water as this will constrict blood vessels, trapping the heat inside. If your pet will not drink water, hose him down and set him in front of a fan. This will likely prevent heat stroke. And, of course, do not leave your pet in a parked car, even if the windows are open.
  • My vet suggested the Thundershirt. I asked about this some months ago and determined at the time that it was ridiculous, but you may want to give it a try. You can find these at pet stores for about $20 and it’s basically an anxiety wrap for your pet that “feels like a hug.” Ok. I’ve been giving actual hugs to my dog for the past week and she is still just as anxious about the fireworks. If you try this, let me know how it goes.
  • My vet also suggested pheromone spray. This has the similar effect of lactose on nursing puppies which gives them a sense of well-being. If you are interested in going this route, you may also want to check into sedatives like valium, Xanax or Prozac. But like I said, I don’t think that’s the best answer. The drugs are not designed to eliminate anxiety, but rather to tamper the natural response, and keep your vet in business.

Do you have other tips? This has been an annual issue with our pets and I haven’t even tackled Tango’s dangerous reactions to fireworks yet. Cats do not seem to be affected by these festivities.

horse, fireworks, holiday, July 4th, Independence day pets,

Tango

Please share your experiences and advice in the comments section. Thank you, and happy dependent Independence Day to you! Rock on, USA!

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