When people think of the Fourth of July, I imagine what comes to mind are freedom, fireworks, parties, and good food. Unfortunately, what is forgotten is that many pets do not appreciate our style of celebration. Many pets have varying levels of anxiety in regard to loud noises such as those created by summer thunder storms and the use of fireworks. These noise phobia behaviors can express themselves in numerous ways.
Some behaviors to be mindful of at home that may signal noise anxiety include: excessive panting, pacing, trembling, attention seeking, hiding or even bolting away from the source of the noise. It is important that your pet not be left alone during these times where they may experience noise anxiety.
Fortunately, even though we cannot prevent the use of fireworks, we do have medical and non-medical options that can help alleviate these anxious behaviors and provide some comfort to your pet.
Some non-medical strategies include playing classical music in the home, confining your pet to their crate or a safe room where they feel protected. For cats, there is a natural pheromone called “Feliway” and for dogs, “Adaptil” can be used to create a calming environment. Additionally, there is a supplement called “Composure” that your pet can take daily to decrease minor anxiety. To create a compression effect which relieves anxiety, Anxiety wraps or “Thundershirts” can be worn during stressful times such as the Fourth of July.
If these natural remedies are not completely effective, there are additional medications that can be prescribed for your pet. Some of these include an oral gel called “Sileo” that can be administered 1 hour before an anxiety inducing event such as Fireworks. “Sileo” is specifically labeled for noise phobia and can be a great option for your pet with anxiety toward thunder and fireworks. Several other options include Trazadone, Alprazolam and Fluoxetine. These additional medications may need to be given several weeks prior to the anxiety inducing event to active positive clinical effect.
Additionally, another behavioral strategy to decrease anxiety is to positively reward your pet during these periods of time. This can be anything from giving your pet their favorite treat like peanut butter inside a Kong toy, puzzle toys, or a new bone. By providing something positive you are changing their response to the anxiety inducing event. Even if your pet takes their positive distraction to another place to hide, this is not a problem, allow your pet be in a seemingly safe environment.
Fourth of July can be a time of great celebration and fun, but if you think your pet may suffer from anxiety, especially in regards to noise phobia, do not hesitate to call the doctors at The Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt and see what we can do to help your pet feel relief at home