Is Your Pet Fearful of Fireworks?
Jason Sweitzer, DVM
The Fourth of July is a great time of year to celebrate our independence. Unfortunately all of the fireworks make many of our four legged friends feel like we are actively fighting for it again. The deep booms, bright lights, parties, and revelry can be overwhelming, if not downright frightening for our canine friends.
There are many options for helping your dog or cat overcome the fear of our merrymaking. The best is slow and positive desensitizing and counter conditioning. This is where we start out with a soundtrack of fireworks or cannons playing in the background so low it can barely be felt or heard and you are playing, feeding, or giving your dog treats. Slowly (5-10 minutes a day) you increase the level of the sound, the base, until you reach a very loud house thumping boom. If your dog becomes anxious or nervous, you want to back it down and take it even slower. Eventually your dog or cat will no longer be scared of fireworks but will actually be very comfortable with them as they know they will get treats and great attention.
Other options include using a Thundershirt(R) to help them feel secure. Thurndershirt (R) is very tightly fitting chest wrap that closely resembles a close hug. It tends to be calming for some fears. Another option is making an appointment with a veterinarian to discuss medications.
Unlike some previous treatments that worked primarily through sedation, some more recent work has shown some newer anti-anxiety medications to be more effective. This is because they not only sedate but they also decrease the hormones and chemicals caused by stress and anxiety. The newer treatments when combined with the behavioral therapy can make the behavioral treatment plan more effective and even decrease or eliminate the need for medications all together.
Lastly, if you are still worried about your animal escaping (the highest number of runaways of any day of the year is Fourth of July), or injuring themselves or the house, please feel free to bring them into Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital.
On the Fourth of July, Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital’s boarding staff will be having an overnight party with lots of activities, music, and other sounds to help distract them and ensure their safety. If you need any last minute help or in the unfortunate case that your animal does injure themselves, they have veterinarians and technicians on staff 24/7 to assist your furry family member.
Please feel free to call or email Conejo Vallery Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns, or if there is any way they can help you and your family.
Call and reserve your dog’s spot for our 4th of July Doggy Sleep Over! 805.495.4671
Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital was the first veterinary hospital established in the Conejo Valley. Dr. Robert Miller, the famed veterinarian and author, founded the hospital in 1958. At that time, Thousand Oaks did not even exist as a city!
Due to the efforts of Dr. Miller and other legendary veterinarians, our hospital has grown to be one of the top facilities in the country serving virtually every type of companion animal—from movie stars to your family pet.