Fireworks and Dogs


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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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