Start Now To Help Pets Fearful of Fireworks: A How to Guide
If your pet is fearful of fireworks, start right now and try behavior modification (explained in the video) which may mitigate the terror. Enhance your chances in generally anxious dogs (which many dogs with fireworks fears might be) using a nutraceutical product (further explained below) or other options (also explained below).
Pheromones, Nutraceuticals, Probiotics
Providing support to take off the edge with any of what’s listened below.
*Phermone products, which are copies a naturally occurring pheromones which help to keep pets comfortable in their own environments.
* Nutraceuticals are a hybrid of a nutritional supplement and a pharmaceutical. Upside is that SO many of the products are readily available making promises online. Downside is that only a few truly have science to demonstrate efficacy, one is called Zylkene, (more listed here) which contains bovine-sourced hydrolyzed milk protein, an ingredient that has been shown to have calming properties, particularly for situational stress and to loud noises.
* Calming Care is a probiotic from Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets, which can be sprinkled on the dog’s food.
While all these products are safe and there’s science to demonstrate effectiveness, still it’s strongly suggested to get input from a veterinary professional. By themselves, these products don’t usually resolve dogs or cats truly inconsolably phobic about fireworks; they are best used as an adjunct to other therapies or for dog or cats “mildly stressed” about the fireworks.
Anecdotal reports suggest that CBD for pets may help to relieve anxiety. Still, there’s no published science – at least not yet. Also, not all CBD products are the same; the notion that all CBD products can do no harm may not necessarily be true. Do consult a veterinary professional. However, depending on where you happen to live, local laws may not allow veterinary professionals to discuss these products.
A newer product that affects brain chemistry is called Calmer Canine. The Calmer Canine device delivers targeted pulsed electromagnetic field (tPEMF) signals to the area of the brain responsible for causing the symptoms of anxiety.
The Calmer Canine device looks like a halo and should be used for treatment by holding above the dog’s head or it can be worn attached to a vest (which come in different sizes). These signals are invisible, sensation-free, and have no known adverse reactions. This is great for pets unable to take pharmaceuticals (anti-anxiety medication) or pet parents who prefer a drug-free option.
Easy to Implement
Many dogs or cats aren’t in full terror mode but still something should be done so they don’t worsen. Combine several products, such as pheromones with perhaps a nutritional supplement and/or a nutraceutical of choice – as well enticing and distracting the dog or cat with play and treats. If children routinely have fun with puppy, fireworks displays are a great time for games. Giving high value treats in Kong toys or food puzzles can be an effective distraction as well.
Of course, close the windows (to lessen the sounds) and pull down shades. Turn on relaxing music or your favorite talk radio station. There’s also music specifically created to relax dogs and cats.
When there are active fireworks happening, never allow the dog to be in a yard unsupervised, as some dogs become terrorized and find a way to escape. Instead, take the pup out on leash to do business and then returning into the house. And when fireworks are happening, it’s not the best time to allow cats outside.
Each of the following options may have calming effects and is something dogs can wear: Thundershirt, Storm Defender or Anxiety Wrap.
If the pet’s terror level is high, with signs that include shaking, excessive salivation, incontinence, decreased appetite, or seeming “inconsolable” psychopharmaceutical intervention may be a serious consideration and arguably the most humane choice.
The old notion about consoling a terrified pet only serves to reinforce fear is simply untrue. You can’t reinforce such a powerful emotion. In fact, some pets can be calmed when pet parents pay attention and use soothing words. Calming our pets when they are fearful can help them feel more comfortable in the moment but kindness alone rarely solves the problem.