Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 4th and Pets

I’ve already seen it mentioned on facebook that a fellow vet tech was on her way to pick up alprazolam (xanax) for her dog for the upcoming fireworks. I also have a dog who suffers from sound phobia. Specifically thunderstorms, heavy winds, fire alarms, and fireworks. Oh! And this one sound on Sport Nation (ESPN network) during the Wall of Fame segment. What a nut-job. This newest one developed suddenly late one night while David was watching it. Strange pup.

She’s always had the thunderstorm phobia but as she gets older it seems to get worse. We used to give her xanax but it made her really hyper (she did forget about being afraid) so after talking with my new vet (almost 4 years ago), switched her to diazepam (valium).


After fine tuning her dose (you literally cannot give her any more or any less than 10mg) she does pretty well. Mostly just gets goofy and ignores most of the noise. Once the storm is over she is such a pain in the ass! For like two days. But we love her and don’t want her to feel terrified and anxious. Wynnie is my inspiration, as well as the upcoming 4th of July holiday (and my 27th birthday is July 6th!!!!), for this post.

How to Help an Anxious Pet:

Homeopathic remedies—I have tried a few treats that were sold at petsmart that had “natural ingredients” for anxiety. Either it didn’t work at all or she refused to eat them. I would use caution in using any herbal or other over the counter medication for anxiety. Always consult with your veterinarian before beginning any kind of supplement or medication.

Dog Pheromones—There are collars, wall diffusers (think air freshener type thing), and sprays. These pheromones are supposed to mimic that of a nursing mother in attempt to calm the animal. A few different brands: DAP, Comfort Zone, and Adaptil.

Thunder shirt—This is wrap type of pet garmet that uses constant pressure to calm animals. During storms a theory is that pets can feel that static electricity in their fur. This shirt may also help with that but mainly it is for the hugging sensation.

Behavioral Consultation—Whether with your veterinarian or a specialist if some basic recommendations don’t work and your pet is having difficulty you may need to consider using a long term medication, short term, or a combination of both depending on environment.

Since it’s the day before the holiday a few things you can do to try to limit anxiety with sound phobic animals are:

  • Take your furkid to a dark, quiet, comforting area during the scary stuff. Maybe play some light music, classical or something to try to drown out some of the noise.
  • Offer some distractions if they are accepting of play, treats, food, toys, or attention.
  • Take a blanket or tshirt and create your own “thundershirt”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23Ed80FVFRo
  • Always, always, always have your pet on a leash and collar when outside during potential scary situations.


Have a great holiday! Happy 4th of July!!


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