The 4th of July is coming, people are buying fireworks for parties, and pet owners are dreading the stress of dealing with a panicked pet. Summer thunderstorms are on their way, and pets sense their arrival.
Knowing the signs
Common signs include panting, pacing, drooling, barking, licking their lips, hiding, etc. If your dog hears the booming noise of a firework or a thunderstorm you know you are in for a long night. Be sure to monitor your pet for changes in their behavior, especially if you don’t know if they have ever been around loud noises or bright flashes.
Providing comforting distractions
If you know there will be fireworks or know a thunderstorm is coming, try to create a safe place for your pet. A safe place may be in a quiet secluded room; maybe a bathroom downstairs towards the middle of the house with the fan on would be helpful as well. If you don’t have a fan, maybe try a white noise machine or playing some gentle music to help drown out the booming sounds. If your dog is motivated by food maybe try a Kong toy, or something similar, filled with their favorite treats. To fill the gaps of the toy you could use peanut butter, yogurt, or applesauce and then freeze it so it’s hard by the time the fireworks start so they have an enjoyable treat to work on.
You could also comfort your dog in a loving voice. Holding them and speaking in a soothing tone may help them relax. Try playing fetch or tug-of-war with their favorite toy. When your dog hears the booming noise they feel a very genuine panic and you may be their only comfort.
If you have tried everything you can think of but nothing is working you should consult your family veterinarian about what would be best for your dog. We have many different options that may or may not work for your dog. Alprazolam and Trazodone are good medications to try; but please consult your family veterinarian first.