Helping Your Dog with Severe Phobias During Storms and Fireworks

Pets celebrating the 4th of July

If any of you have a dog like mine who absolutely hates storms, fireworks, or any loud noises you know that it can be quite stressful for them and for you. I wanted to take some time and talk about a few things that may help reduce or all together alleviate the stress and anxiety the 4th of July brings for my dog every year.

First off its a good idea to work with them before these events occur. Meaning 4th of July weekend is probably not a good idea to start training. However getting your pet use to loud noises is a gradual process that can be doing in small increments to desensitize them.

There are some tips and tricks I have learned both as a pet owner and Veterinarian

  • Do not fuss or reassure your pet. As natural as it is to try and help them it may have the opposite effect and reward the behavior and promote it.
  • Do not scold or punish your dog. It may only severe to reenforce the feeling that something is wrong and in some cases make it worse.
  • Practice training your dog to settle and focus on command, using rewards such as favorite treats and toys. Try to associate this training with a favored location in the house. This will help redirect the nervous energy and distract them from all the excitement going on outside.
  • Make sure that the environment is safe and secure at all times. If he or she is scared enough they may try to bolt and injure themselves.
  • Try to ensure that your dog has access to a well-curtained or blacked-out room when the storm begins. Close all the windows and doors so the sound is muffled as much as possible.
  • Provide background noise from the radio or television. Music with a lot of constant drum beats does help. The volume does not have to be loud as long as the music has a strong . Other background noises such as a fan running or even “white” noise devices can help to block outdoor noises.
  • Natural remedies such as appeasing pheromones like Adaptil or other natural products such as melatonin can be used with good results.
  • Lastly short acting anti-anxiety are sometimes needed to minimize severe phobias. They should be given only under veterinary supervision and before any noises or storms start. This is usually about an hour prior.
By |July 1st, 2019|
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