» Fireworks cause anxiety with pets

at least mine -! All of my dogs are terrified of fireworks and lightning and plastic bags and cats and most things come to think of it – but fireworks are at the top of that list.  This is a great article I found on another site – WTOP.com and I couldn’t have said it better myself -. Here are some tips:

For dogs and cats with average anxiety:

  • Put them in a small, quiet interior room with no windows and bathrooms are ideal because exhaust fans can create white noise.
  • Include water and comfort items such as the pet’s bed and favorite toys.
  • Shut them in with a loving goodbye and a treat. Don’t act sorry or guilty.
  • Remove pets from a quiet room nonchalantly as though it’s no big deal.

Dr. Nelson says pheromone and thunder coats work to calm about half the pets using them. For pets with higher-than-average anxiety, combine a quiet room with:

For severe anxiety when animals become sick or may harm themselves:

  • Consult a veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications.
  • Try out the medication prior to the trigger event to determine appropriate dosage.
  • Try a lower dosage, if a pet appears too dopey or “flattened” by meds.
  • Consult a vet about increasing dose or combining with a second medication, if dosage appears ineffective.
  • Don’t sedate pets. That only creates a sleepy pet that is still traumatized.

Dr. Nelson says pet owners shouldn’t feel as though the “quiet room” is banishing a pet away from an owner’s comfort.

“I think if you look at it that way, then your pet is going to sense that from you,” she says.

Dogs, for example, are den animals.

“They really do like having that safe protected sort of closed-in environment, that’s why kennels are very effective for many dogs that suffer from anxiety. If you have a dog that loves his crate that’s probably the best place for him,” Nelson says.

Also, the “quiet room” doesn’t have to be a bathroom.

“You might have a large walk-in closet, or some other area that you think they might be more comfortable in,” Nelson says.

Also, Nelson stresses that pet owners should not act sad, ashamed or guilty when putting a pet in or taking them out of the “quiet room.”

“If you don’t make a big deal about it then they’re going to feel like: ‘OK, my human isn’t worked up, so I guess is shouldn’t be worked up either,’ and it’ll help them to get through it a lot better,” Nelson says.

Get more information about Fourth of July events and safety tips in the WTOP live blog.

 

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