It’s mid-summer and that means 4th of July Fireworks are fast approaching. Pet’s afraid of fireworks? Fireworks & Thunderstorm anxiety affects many dogs. There are many ways you can help your pet relieve their anxiety. 

Check us out on Fox2Now St Louis talking about the Thundershirt!

Training and counter-conditioning before the event can help desensitize your pet to a point where your pet no longer reacts negatively to the various stimuli but this can take some time and patience and is a good long-term solution.

Counter Conditioning:

Counter-conditioning your pet uses treats or other toys to your advantage. Associating a positive experience with something that may frighten your dog can often help reduce your pet’s anxiety levels. Have a storm puppy party and toss treats on the floor when it thunders.  It can really help them begin to associate thunder with good things like treats.  Try to do this before your dog is really anxious. There are CD’s available that can help you train without an actual thunderstorm going on.

Here’s an example of how we did this with our dog Foster.  He gets very agitated when the smoke alarm goes off.  He runs through the house and is quite anxious.  Here’s how we worked with him. We watched a recent episode of Modern Family and a key element in the show was a smoke detector going off.  Foster heard the first beep on the TV and began to get anxious.  We didn’t want him to be stressed during the entire show so we came up with this solution. He’s clicker trained so we got out some treats and with each beep of the smoke alarm on the show he got a treat.  By the end of the show he was anxiously awaiting the treats and not worrying about the alarms.  Even now he begins to looks to us for treats when he hears the smoke alarm go off instead of anxiously running through the house.

Holistic Relief:

In addition to behavior modification you can take a natural and holistic approach to reducing your pet’s anxiety through the use of various natural herbs, flower essences and energy healing.  These are safe ways to help your pet deal with their anxiety.  Some work right away and some require a bit more time to work in their system.  No product or technique will work for every pet but these products are great natural options for your pet.

Four Muddy Paws carries several products that can help reduce your pets stress levels and our staff can help you decide what fits your situation best.

Bach Flower’s Rescue Remedy

Thundershirt

Animal Essentials Tranquility Blend

Pet Natural’s Calming Soft Chews for Dogs and Cats

Herbsmith Calm Shen

Herbsmith Third of July

VetriScience Composure

Ark Natural Happy Traveler

ThunderEssence Naturally Calmer Dog

Color and music therapy can also be effective in helping your pet in addition to regular energy healing sessions.  We also carry a line of music therapy CD’s that have been helpful both with storms as well as separation anxiety. Through a Dog’s Ear Calming CD’s

An excellent book to read on this subject is Energy Healing for Dogs by Nicole Wilde.  She offers numerous holistic solutions and techniques to help your pet deal with their anxiety issues.

Also, ask us how CBD oils and treats might be of some help for your pets. 

Here are some other helpful tips to remember:

Have your dog go to their crate with an extra special treat.  Covering your crate can help create a sense of security.

Get out a puzzle game for your dog to enjoy either with you or independently.  This is helpful especially when you know a storm is coming in order to tire them out and relax them with some mental stimulation.

Keep out unwanted noises and visual stimulus by keeping them in an interior room with the windows closed and drapes drawn.

Mask other outside noises by keeping the AC on, playing music, having the television on or fan blowing to create some white noise.

Make sure your outside gates and fences are always closed and secure especially during and after guests have visited.  Oftentimes guests who don’t have pets will leave the gate door open without thinking and your pet could escape their yard. 

With some proper planing and anticipation of possible events that can be troubling to your pet you can help reduce their anxiety and get through these sometimes challenging events.