Summer is a glorious time of year; however, out of all the seasons, summer can be the most frightening for our canines and felines. With the onset of fireworks and thunderstorms, our pets’ sensitivity to noise can be the cause of dangerous anxiety attacks.
The symptoms of an anxiety attack are obvious. Dogs and cats become nervous and unsettled. Heavy breathing or panting, pacing and even vomiting can occur. If these symptoms are not addressed, pets can become destructive to couches, backyard fences, their favorite toys and even to themselves. It’s entirely natural for them to attempt escape. Dr. Jane had a client in Florida with a German Shepherd that became so frightened one Fourth of July evening that he dove right through the front window! He was badly hurt and Dr. Jane had to treat him with several stitches and a tranquilizer.
Thousands of pets end up in animal shelters during the summer months, especially around Independence Day. In fact, shelters now refer to runaway canines as ‘Fourth of July Dogs.’ Sadly, many of these dogs and cats are never reunited with their owners due to insufficient or outdated identification.
Life’s Abundance wants to help you to avoid any unnecessary pain or loss. Below are a few tips for helping your pet through these summer thunderstorms.
Some trainers recommend conditioning your pet to loud noises – desensitization, in other words. CD’s of fireworks and thunder are available to help condition your pet. Play it softly and gradually increase the volume while engaging in a pleasant game with your pet or giving a treat, such as any of the Life’s Abundance Treats. This will help your dog and cat associate the noise with pleasantries.
Even though this desensitization technique will teach your pet to respond in non-fearful ways to frightening stimuli, please understand that the noise of thunder generally comes with weather changes that your pet can easily sense, so don’t expect a 100% turn around.
Confine your pet to a safe place just before and during the storm/festivities. Where does your pet feel most safe? The closet, under the futon, in a cage, on your bed? Make this favorite space comfortable with water and dry food and soft music to help distract him or her from the noise.
Be sure that your pet can’t escape. It only takes one second for your cat to run through your legs and out the door. Keep all doors and windows closed and don’t open them when your pet is in the room. Just in case, make sure your pet is wearing a current I.D tag on its collar. Microchips and tattoos are also good options because they can never come off.
Do not punish your dog or cat for being afraid. It’s not your pet’s fault and you will only cause him or her to be more fearful. Overall, pets suffering from noise anxiety can be helped through proper planning, prevention and loving reassurance from their owners. Pay attention to the level of anxiety your pet has (it can vary vastly) and work with your vet to determine the best treatment method possible. If your pet is not responding to anything you do, ask for a veterinarian behaviorist or a PhD in animal psychology. Don’t give up.
Contact your vet beforehand to discuss tranquilizer options. Some pets are given tranquilizers or human anti-anxiety drugs like Elavil by their family vet.
If you want to go natural, here are a few ways:
Try warm milk with honey. It hits the sleep center in the brain and helps your dog or cat to relax. Some vets recommend antihistamines that have the side effect of sleep.
We at Judys Health Cafe recommend PetCalm
PetCalm contains a special blend herbal and homeopathic ingredients known for their calming and soothing effect.
PetCalm is a natural remedy with no risk of side effects or addiction and can be safely used by animals of all ages and sizes.
PetCalm may be used regularly to reduce anxiety and stress in highly strung or chronically anxious pets, or as needed for relief during particularly stressful situations like competitive events, visits to the vet, change of home, domestic stress, etc.
- To immediately calm anxious, stressed and highly strung pets
- To treat anxiety in pets with anxiety disorders or those with nervous dispositions
- To reduce anxiety and excitability in competitive events
- To help your pet cope during times of domestic stress (conflict, divorce or other domestic difficulties)
- To reduce distress during Halloween, fireworks and other frightening occasions
- As a tonic for the nervous system