July 4th Fireworks Are Around the Corner
According to Chinese medicine, some dogs during summer may feel out of balance! For example, flowers are blooming now that may cause allergies, spring storms (although not as prevalent this summer so far), holidays with fireworks occur, and many dogs are plain hot and uncomfortable on regular walks. Any of these circumstances may cause dog anxiety.
General dog anxiety and frustration may simply get worse in some of our canine buddies this time of year. The good news is there are positive techniques, and solutions dog lovers can try and test out before the July 4th holiday.
Your dog may also benefit from ‘a job’ during the summer but especially when anxiety kicks in around fireworks and the heat returns. Physical and mental exercise during the summer months may be more challenging (especially with seniors) but are just as important as it is the rest of the year.
The key to success is trying these techniques and products before a stressful event causes dog anxiety or when your dog is just having a typical day. Play around with several management techniques! Also, discuss certain drugs with your vet before a stressful event occurs, so you have an opportunity to see how your dog reacts and feels when he’s not stressed out or anxious as a baseline is essential for pet lovers.
Signs of stress in dogs
Every dog is different, and while some may constantly bark when they’re anxious, others may whine or try to hide.
- Constant yawning
Environmental management for dog anxiety
Assess your dog’s environment as some noises may trigger dog anxiety, and you may be able to prevent it from going from a zero to ten in a matter of minutes. Do you have a safe room in the house your dog goes to when he’s tired and wants to be left alone? Observe your dog and cat and watch to see where they enjoy being alone. Always allow them access to this area when you know something may trigger their anxiety.
Calming enrichment helps dog anxiety too
Calming enrichment reflects activities that help animals calm themselves down, like yoga for humans. There are many low-cost techniques to decrease stress and anxiety in our pets. Sound enrichment may soothe everyone in the household!
What are examples of calming enrichment for dogs?
- Sound: White noise machines, classical music, and even an audiobook may help!
- Licking and chewing: Dogs love to lick, which is proven to help some dogs calm down. So grab a Kong or a lickimat and fill it up with soft food or mashed-up bananas.
- Tactile: A thunder shirt is a great solution – these vests work by applying pressure to the dog’s torso causes a calming effect similar to swaddling a crying infant or hugging a distressed person. There is another product called the ‘Anxiety Wrap,’ which may also work.
Nutrition to help with dog anxiety
This concept is still being explored, but it’s worth mentioning! Some vet behaviorists notice a correlation between the percentage of carbs in a dog’s diet and anxiety. This correlation needs to be explored further, but it’s interesting to consider. Diet may play a role when it comes to different types of behavior. Some dogs are also known to be calmer on a lower protein diet. Still, if this topic is one you’d like to explore further, google: “Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition” by Sean Delaney.
Hemp oil and calming aids for dog anxiety
Calming aids and hemp oil products can be used but talk to your vet about the medication your pet currently takes to ensure there are no contraindications with other drugs. Always read the label and ask our staff if you have questions. There are tinctures and chewable treats available.
Our online store carries three brands, and you can buy them here or in the store.
- Pet Releaf has a tincture
- Holistic Hound has many types of calming products
- Austin and Kat offers bites and a variety of oils
Consult your vet or vet behaviorist before fireworks if your dog experiences over-the-top anxiety. There are certain drugs your dog may benefit from taking before the firework noises start, and it’s better to be safe than sorry and dose your dog!
Consider medication for anxiety (sedatives) around fireworks
Putting your dog on medication for anxiety is always a decision you’ll make with your vet. Many pet owners find certain medications work well for fireworks and help sedate your dog or cat. Some drugs to consider are:
- Alprazolam (Xanax®)
- Diazepam (Valium®)
Being able to relax is essential for all dogs! Prolonged periods of anxiety impact behavior and may cause health issues. Limit stressful events and try these techniques if your pet is anxious about fireworks.
Whole Dog Journal
“Canine Enrichment for The Real World,” Allie Bender, CDBD and Emily Strong, CDBD
Yin & Yang By Judy Morgan (FB live)