Posted by Josie
This is the time of year I absolutely dread. Soon we will be in the month of ka-booms, lights and sparklers that will absolutely freak me out. Yes, I hate fireworks. Absolutely despise them. I’m so scared of them I shake, tremble and run into my cage. I get that it’s our nation’s birthday, but what irritates me is the fireworks continue in my neighborhood for the ENTIRE month of July. It also doesn’t help that I live in a more rural, farming area in Minnesota, so the fireworks people light up are big displays. As one neighbor says, “we live in God’s Country and out here we do what we want.”
So… for the next 30 days I will live in a state of constant fear. Here’s how I will deal with it:
- Have a very comfy soft blanket in my kennel, complete with a few treats because once I seclude myself, I will stay in my cage for at least two to four hours. I won’t eat the treats because I’m too scared, but it’s never bad to have treats-in-waiting you can eat after you are no longer hearing the crazy noise.
- Will put a Thundershirt on, even though Mom is not sure it works. Since she invested in one she feels obligated for me to use it. A Thundershirt is basically hug therapy – being swaddled like a baby with a coat that ties together with velcro.
- Make sure I go potty during the daylight….number one and number two. Once the booms start I’m usually too scared to relieve myself, so I must be prepared to hold it for quite awhile. Maybe even till the next morning!
There are also other remedies out there, such as desensitization training, which involves playing a recording of fireworks for your dog. That takes time and needs to be done over the course of a few weeks. The other options are to take anti-anxiety medications or something more natural like human melatonin tablets. The makers of Zentrol gave me one of their anti anxiety supplements to try out. It’s available from veterinarians and is said to help reduce stress related behaviors in as little as 80 minutes for situations such as thunderstorms, fireworks, travel and moving. I tried it, but to tell you the truth that didn’t work for me either.
Sadly, nothing on the market has worked for me to curb my emotional meltdowns during fireworks displays. It’s probably just my personal issues, because medication and Thundershirts have definitely worked on other dogs. This year Mom is going to try using pheromones. They are natural chemicals that momma dogs and cats secrete to their puppies and kittens, that make them feel safe and relaxed. Comfort Zone with D.A.P. for dogs is something my human recently got for me and we’re going to try it out this fireworks season. Feliway for cats is the feline version. They both contain synthetic pheromones that mimic these relaxed animal scents. Pheromones can be found in most pet supply stores as a spray, scented collar or a diffuser that can be plugged into a wall outlet. They’re also safe for humans.
Of course, if you want to try the over-the-counter medication route, you should double check things with your veterinarian, especially if your pet has health issues. (Don’t forget I’M A DOG writing this and these are my opinions. I’m not a medical expert.)
This is one situation where I really wish I was my cat brother, Farley Waddlesworth. Nothing ever seems to scare him because he doesn’t know any better. He never had the tough situation of being a shy, fearful homeless dog at the beginning of his life. When I’m shaking and trembling in my cage I try to pretend I’m him. But if that doesn’t work, I will face reality and deal with it even though it’s terrifying and uncomfortable. After all, the way to face challenges when you’re Whisker Fabulous is to think pawsitively. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday despite the needless noise!