Fireworks Fun? Not so fast

fireworks dog

Jangled by earsplitting blasts, many pets endure almost continual terror. Dogs may hide, tremble, drool, cry, vomit, and urinate or even pass diarrhea. Some will escape their yards.

Freaked-out pets need our comfort for sure; shelter from the bombardment and light flashes will also be essential. Allow them to find relief anywhere they’ll feel better: a bathroom, closet, or a crate, covered on top and all 4 sides (door open), nestled away from windows and exterior walls. Close the blinds and turn off the TV.

You can mask the racket with white noise or a loud fan. “Through a Dog’s Ear” music promotes canine-specific calming alpha brain waves.  Mutt Muffs, comfy and well tolerated, will dampen the racket. A Zenidog pheromone diffuser can reduce the stress.

Scavenging opportunities can make a difference too. With their morning meal delayed a dog or cat can focus on extracting sustenance from a food-dispensing toy or puzzle. Engaging their brain, mouth, and paws will divert their attention away from your neighbor’s pyrotechnic proclivities.

Oral antianxiety medications can be given throughout the Independence Day weekend. Alprazolam, trazodone, and clonidine are helpful for dogs; lorazepam or gabapentin work well for cats. A prescription gel, called Sileo, is given between a dog’s lower lip and gum. With no sedation or side effects Sileo will dispel the heebie jeebies prior to or even during the artillery assault. You can repeat it every 2 hours until the cataclysm passes. And it’s safe when given with other medications. Your regular veterinarian can prescribe any or all of these ahead of the “holiday.”

Avoid the old fashioned tranquilizer acepromazine. Causing only sedation, an agitated pet would be unable to act out its angst. Groggy but no calmer, they’d be trapped in a chemical straightjacket, panicked but unable to escape. Get ready now. Freaked-out pets who are left to fend for themselves worsen with each terrifying event.

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Can Sophie and Elliott, the feline protagonists in their urine sprayed but otherwise stately 19th century home, find peace? Something’s got to give. Tune in next week.

For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (drjeffnichol.com). Each week he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Email pet behavior or physical questions to drjeffnichol@drjeffnichol.com or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.

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