Is your dog terrified of fireworks and thunderstorms? We can help!
Warmer weather is finally here and soon it will be officially summer. Summer means three things; fireworks, thunderstorms and dogs who are terrified of these. For a dog with a phobia about these noises, a storm or fireworks results in a true panic attack. Dogs may try to escape from a house or yard, they may dig through dry wall or rip up carpets or even jump out windows.
Now is the time to start thinking about these phobic pets because there are treatments that can help them, but treatment works best if we have a plan before the problem starts. There are several different medications and other products that can help a patient who is terrified of thunder or fireworks as well as behavior modification techniques.
Options for noise phobias include behaviour therapy and medication. There are several medications that can be prescribed for these dogs. There are also alternative non-prescription remedies we can discuss, if you’re interested. Thunder Shirts help some of these dogs and can be purchased at many pet stores, or we can custom-order one for you.
As far as behavior modification goes, these are usually things that we do to teach the pet to feel safe and comfortable regardless of what’s going on around him. These are definitely things that need to be in place before the scary event happens. For dogs whose reactions are less intense, you can try things like a white noise machine to block out the sounds and giving a really delicious, long-lasting treat, like a bully stick or a Kong toy that you fill with yogurt and freeze. If your dog tries to get to one particular place in the house, like the basement or in a bathroom or closet, make sure she has access to that room. For dogs with more severe reactions to these noises, we recommend booking an appointment with one of our doctors to set up a comprehensive behavioral treatment plan.
The most important thing in helping these dogs is to speak to your veterinarian or schedule a behavior consult sooner rather than later. Waiting until July 1rst or the day that our first really big summer storm is forecast may be too late. Because every individual, whether dog, cat or human, can respond differently to medications it’s really important to try out some of these treatments before the storm or fireworks show.