Fourth of July fireworks heighten pet anxiety concerns

Fourth of July firework displays heighten pet anxiety

For most, the Fourth of July includes a celebration and large display of fireworks, for others, the booming explosions can have a frightening effect on their pets.

“Twenty-five to 30 percent of dogs have a noise phobia of some kind,” said said Dr. Jim Mathias of Tipp City Veterinary Hospital. “Most of those are associated with thunderstorms, gun shots or fireworks. The sudden bursts are the ones that can become really frightening to dogs.”

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There is a product called ‘ThunderShirt’ that is a tight fitting garment you put on your dog and it compresses the body for gentle pressure that sometimes calms them. It is something that has a tendency of slowing down excited stress triggers, Mathias said. It gives the effect of swaddling a baby.

“Sometimes it’s easy to ignore abnormal behavior and say oh it’s just a crazy dog, but noise phobias have a tendency of amplifying and getting worse as they get older,” Mathias said.

Sileo is the first medication specifically labeled for noise phobia, Mathias said. It is a gel that does not need to be swallowed you just put it on the inside of the dog’s cheek.

“If you can intervene when they’re younger with behavior modification or sometimes with pharmaceuticals it really takes the edge off, and then it prevents some of those more serious things from happening,” he said.

Creating a safe spot for your dog is another suggestion Mathias makes to keep your pet safe during threats of loud noise.

Thinking ahead and intervening early if you know you have an anxious dog is a preventative step to take, he said.