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Posted on 07-12-2012

Summer time is here and how wonderful to be outside and enjoying the great weather.  However, one of our past-times may be causing stress, anxiety and possibly even destructive behaviour for our pets.  I'm referring to fireworks of course.  Common signs of fear include pacing, drooling and hiding behaviour.  It can progress to vocalization , climbing on people , soiling in the house and even destructive behaviour (keep in mind that many of these behaviours can mimic thunderstorm anxieties!)

 If your pet is already showing signs of fireworks anxiety there are multiple steps that can be used to minimize their anxieties.  First and most obvious is minimize their exposure to fireworks or keep them as far away as possible.  Also you can try to play distracting loud music in the background that has a significant beat.  Further, one could consider commercial attempts for decreasing anxieties like a "ThunderShirt" or even "Mutt Muffs" that can be used over their ears. If the fireworks anxiety has progressed to the point that your pet is displaying extreme or destructive behaviour you should strongly consider seeing your veterinarian for prescription medications that along with behaviour modification can decrease their long term fears of fireworks.  If needed these meds can be continued throughout the fireworks "season" and then discontinued.

Prevention is the best cure however.  Control your young dogs exposure to fireworks and loud noises  and make sure that you are present when they are first exposed.  If you see any signs of nervousness offer them treats that they will focus on.  If they are a retriever grab a tennis ball and  play fetch , or give them a food puzzle that will keep their attention focused down rather than up in the sky.

As a card carrying member of the fireworks fan club I enjoy them every chance I can , but keep some of these tips in mind to control your pets fireworks fears.  

Dr. Eric

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