Whether you're playing
It's all about fireworks. Some dogs are terrified; one large boom and they're jumping over a backyard fence or digging under one. Panicked dogs usually contained by electronic fencing break through. Others bolt out open doors.
Obviously, you should never let doors stand open and avoid leaving your dog in the yard without supervision, but if a pet does get lost, identification can make the difference between life and death.
Cats and dogs should have ID tags with owner contact information. Since collars can fall off or be removed, a microchip (implanted by a veterinarian) is the only permanent form of ID. However, while more owners are microchipping their pets, too many forget to submit contact info to the microchip provider. Without current data, there's no way to locate the owner.
Of course, it would help if pets weren't so terrified of fireworks in the first place. Not that you can blame them. Since canine hearing is better than our own, fireworks must sound like an explosion in a dog's head. Convincing your pal that the racket is all about patriotism is futile.
While some pets seem oblivious to fireworks, others display mild distress to all out panic. Here are some tips to help to deal with anxious dogs. (Before trying any of these techniques, talk with your vet.):
1. Desensitization/Counter Conditioning
Introducing your pet to the sound of fireworks well before the Fourth can help or even "cure" some dogs. Play a CD of fireworks sounds, which can be downloaded from the Internet. (One a free audio download is at www.dogsandfireworks.com.) Begin by playing the sounds at a low level while simultaneously have fun with your dog. Put on the CD periodically throughout the day so the sounds become part of the dog's environment, much like the sound of cars honking or the dishwasher running. Play the CD during mealtime, gradually pumping up the volume. If your dog reacts, you've gone too fast, so dial it down a bit. Hopefully, your dog will eventually associate the sound of fireworks with a positive experience (like play or eating).
2. Storm Defender and Anxiety Wrap
Each is a tight-fitting outfit for a dog. A pooch in a Storm Defender looks like a superhero in a bright red cape. According to the manufacturer, the product shields a dog from the static charge buildup before a thunderstorm, reducing anxiety. The Anxiety Wrap maker says the product calms dogs by providing acupressure (www.stormdefender.com or www.anxietywrap.com)
3. Calming Cap
This hood is designed to lessen a dog's anxiety. A single-panel sheer fabric window makes the dog's vision indistinct, reducing visual stimulus. (http://www.buygentleleader.com/View.aspx?page=dogs/products/behavior/other)
4. Dog Appeasing Pheromone (D.A.P.)
Released from a dog collar or plug-in diffuser, this is a knock-off (or analog) of the 'appeasing pheromone' naturally produced by lactating mother dogs to comfort and reassure their offspring. The pheromone help calm nervous or anxious dogs or puppies. (www.dap-pheromone.com/)
Human earplugs can be used for some dogs to muffle sounds.
If you can convince your dog to play fetch or roll around a toy so treats tumble out, the pet is less likely to go into full panic mode. Of course, depending on how anxious your dog is, this may be easier said than done. Dogs in full panic mode are often not interested in games or food.
7. Anti-anxiety drugs
For the most fearful dogs, consider this alternative. Alprazolam (Xanax) is generally the drug of choice, though every dog is different. The problem with Benadryl or Acepromazine is that while they make dogs drowsy, they do nothing to alleviate anxiety. An herbal calming agent, such as Rescue Remedy, is another option.
Availale at Amazon.com:
Recent Pet Articles
- Fireworks Are Fun For Humans, But Can Terrorize Pets
- Go Green With Your Cat
- Mother's Milk Influences Kitten Food
- Take Great Photos of Your Cat
- Take Great Photos of Your Dog
- 9 Key Ingredients That Nourish Growing Puppies
- Understanding Your Dog's Mealtime Behavior
- Which Flea or Tick Products Should You Buy? Well, It Depends
- Do Cats Really Prefer Women?
- Business Management the Dog Way
- Train Your Dog Properly
- Big Fun for Little Dogs
- Create a Dog-friendly Backyard
- Why You Should Adopt a Senior Dog
- Canine Heroes
- The Best Cat Beds
- Bringing up Baby With a Dog
- Can You Recognize Feline Diabetes?
- Do Cats Fake Sleep?
- Is Your Dog Overweight?
- Hold Your Cat Correctly
- How to Manage a Multi-cat Household
- Pregnant Cat Care
- I Found a Stray Cat. Now What?
- Measure Your Cat's Intelligence
- Does Your Dog Food Meet AAFCO Standards?
- The Best Time of Day to Walk Your Dog
- Washington DC: Travel to a Dog-friendly City
- Letting Your Cat Wander Could Be a Death Sentence
- Girl Scouts Are a Cat's Best Friend
- Litter Box Training for Your Cat
- Pregnancy, Babies and Cats
- Dog Scouts of America Rewards Canines
- Legendary Dog Trainer Chronicles Her Pioneering Work
- Can Social Media Save You Money on Your Dog?
- Who Works at Your Dog's Veterinary Office?
- Do Purebred Cats Require More Expensive Care?
- Who Works at Your Cat's Veterinary Office?
- Dogs As Well As Other Pets Can Have Compulsive Disorders
- How to Select Dog Food
- What Your Dogs Need for Dog Dental Health
- How to Select Cat Food
- How Your Cat's Diet Affects Its Dental Health
- Fight the Urge to Get Your Own Live Easter Bunny
- My Cat Has No Table Manners
- How Do You Know You're Ready to Get a Dog?
- One Man's Mission to Save and Protect Animals
- Researchers Making Progress in Treatment of FIP
- Can Cats Have Spiritual Experiences?
- Cat Adoption Tips
- Can Dogs Have Spiritual Experiences?
- Persians Still Reign As America's Most Popular Cats
- 10 Great Places for Dogs and Dog Lovers
- Tips for Car Travel With Your Cat
- Why Healthy Cats Sometimes Act Sick
- Dog Games for Rainy Days
- Fight Dog Cancer
- New Pet Books Take a Scientific Approach
- Benefits of DHA for Your Growing Kitten
- Creative Cat-hair Removers
- Save Money on Your Dog's Medicine
- How to Litter-box Train Your Cat
- Videos Help Spread Spay / Neuter Message
- Cat Food Essential: Antioxidants
- Cat Love and Friendship
- Protect Your Cat's Teeth From Disease
- The Hottest New Cat Products
- Dog Food Essential: Antioxidants
- Personal Assistants for Dogs?
- Protect Your Dog's Teeth From Disease
- Cat Food Ingredients for Good Health
- Dog Food Ingredients for Good Health
- Save Money on Winter Dog-grooming
- How to Prepare Your Dog for Playgroup
- Protect Your Pets From Winter Hazards
Copyright © 2011 DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.