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.