Fireworks and Pets: A Conversation with a Veterinary Behaviorist


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Sharing a stage with Dr. Debbie Horwitz

Id your pet frantic about fireworks? Listen here from WGN Radio Steve Dale’s Pet World to veterinary behaviorist Dr. Debbie Horwitz, contributing editor (wth Dr. John Ciribassi and myself) to Decoding Your Dog 

This is a detail discussion about fireworks anxiety, ranging from dealing with little or moderate stress, to more severe stress to absolute panic.

Dr. Horwitz explains that allowing pets to hide out of fear isn’t a bad thing, and may be adaptive. . . As long as the dog will still go out to “do business” and eat, and the cat will continue to use the litter box and eat, then let them be.

What about distraction? Dr. Horwitz explains how to use this technique.

Might a nutraceutical help like Zylkene help? Dr. Horwitz says, “yes,” and a pheromone may help too.

Put the animal in another room with shades closed and music in the background or the TV or a talk radio station. White noise from a fan can help as well.

Dr. Horwitz says, “Be as pre-emptive as you can.”

What do you about pets who are inconsolable because they are so panicked?

At some point in time, it was suggested not to console an pet afraid fireworks because you will make matters? Dr. Horwitz busts this myth.

Traveling with Pets

Some pets are happier being left alone than to travel, as more people than ever want to take pets with them. Dr. Horwitz explains how to help pets get adjusted to a boarding facility, and how to choose that facility.

Also, tips on when you do travel in a car with your pet as more folks are doing this than ever before. For cats, this includes carrier training, which Dr. Horwitz explains.

And information on running with your dog, or don’t you?