By Patricia Khuly, DVM
This time of the year — the summertime — sends shivers down canine spines. Not only do they have to suffer the wrath of Thor in the form of lightning bolts and booming thunder, they also have to endure the sometimes juvenile, dubiously patriotic displays of fireworks put on haphazardly by friends and neighbors.
Now, I’m not dissing the Fourth of July or calling anyone names, but bottle rockets in the street are just not fun for me, personally. Not when my pets stare at me in anguish over the cacophonous sounds that justifiably alarm them.
Community displays are another matter, I’ll allow. But what if you live near them? What’s a sound-phobic’s owner to do?
Rest assured … there are some possibilities. Here’s the list I offer my own clients:
1. Consider taking a night trip in the car to a remote getaway. I live near the Everglades and, except for the mosquitoes this time of year, it’s a gorgeous place to watch the stars. (And much more patriotic, I think, than all the booms, cracks and whistles.)
2. Board your pets for the night in an out-of-the-way facility. Sure, it’s not ideal … but it helps.
OK, so what if neither of these options work … especially considering the wicked neighborhood children who consider the 4th of July a week-long extravaganza of noise, fire, and lights?
3. Sound-proof and white-noise your house starting well in advance of the festivities. TVs, radios, heavy curtains, closed windows and lots of AC (if you can afford it) work wonders. Hanging out in the coziest, shut-in room can handle the problem, too.
4. Follow some of my tips for thunderstorm phobia.
5. Though I don’t like to sedate, I find that some pets really do require it. Without sedation, some pets can seriously hurt themselves or others. They don’t deserve to suffer.
Just as for thunderstorm phobia, recognize that stepping in early to calm your pets is the way to go. If every year brings an increased level of anxiety, you’ve got to take steps to reduce exposure beforehand. If not, every year will bring out new heightened versions of the worst in your pets. Talk to your veterinarian if it’s severe. If not for their comfort, then for your own sanity.
This article was originally published on Fully Vetted, a petMD Blog.