6 Tips To Help With Your Pet’s Anxiety From Fireworks
It's that time of year and firework season is in full swing. It can be the scariest season for your pets if they suffer from anxiety from loud booms, snaps, pops and explosions from fireworks. We've compiled a list of signs of pet anxiety and also a list of tips to help with a pet's anxiety during firework season.
Our friends from the Zillah Veterinary Clinic has compiled a few tips and signs on their Facebook page to help educate you and help your pets through the firework season.
Here is what they had to say:
We frequently get questions about treating pets’ anxiety during the fireworks and thunderstorm season. Clients often tell us their pet’s anxiety gets worse every year. So how do you know that Fido is fearful instead of just confused or overly excited?
If your pet is demonstrating two or more of the following signs, we recommend consulting your veterinarian well in advance of the holiday to see if it’s time to get some extra help:
2. Shaking / Shivering
4. Panting / Drooling
5. Hiding under furniture
What can you do at home for mild anxiety?
1. Keep them INSIDE! Too many pets get separated from their families when they become fearful, and unfortunately not all find their way home.
2. Muffle the noise: take your pet into the basement and turn up the TV or radio to wash out the background noise.
3. Distract your pet with their favorite game or teach them a new trick with tasty treats.
4. Start Adaptil (dogs) or Feliway (cats) at least 24 hours before the noise begins. These are calming pheromones that can help with anxiety and come as a plug-in (the more effective option) or a spray (can be put on bedding, etc).
5. Exercise in the morning before the fireworks start (within your pet’s capabilities, of course). Tired pets are less likely to become over-stimulated.
6. Thundershirts provide a “tight hug” that can help some dogs with their anxiety. The benefits in most pets are minimal, but some of our clients report great results for those mild cases.
What about all those other remedies you’ve heard about?
1. Benadryl: Benadryl is frequently passed around Dr. Google as an easily accessible drug to treat your pet’s anxiety. Unfortunately, while Benadryl can sedate your pet, it does nothing for the actual anxiety. I frequently describe this to clients as putting a straight jacket on a claustrophobic individual prior to shoving them in the coat closet. While it can be successful in preventing the owners from hearing the anxiety, it tends to actually make the anxiety worse in the future.
2. CBD oil: This is the new kid on the block that we’re asked about all the time. While CBD oil appears to have potential in assisting anxiety treatment, ongoing research out of several universities shows that it is not as perfectly safe as often claimed by its proponents. Combined with the lack of mandatory quality control or oversight and sometimes significant variation between batches and products, we do not recommend using it at this time.
3. Over the counter calming supplements: While many of these are unlikely to cause problems if used according to label, they rarely provide adequate control of anxiety.
Fireworks are a given around the 4th of July weekend but with a little caution and care, we can protect our pets from harm.