As we move into the holiday weekend, many dog owners are dreading the anxiety, pacing, panting, barking, and shaking that can often result from a neighbor’s fireworks display. If you’re among them, this article by The Caring Vet will give you a variety of tips to help your dog avoid that firework frenzy you’ve seen in him before.
If you’re one of the many dog owners dreading the fireworks that often accompany Independence Day celebrations, you’re not alone. Many dogs hide, pant, scratch at the floor, tremble, or pace when confronted with a loud noise like the fireworks you’re neighbors are so proud to show off. But, July 4th is only a symptom of a larger problem in your pup. Chances are, if you’re reading this article, your dog doesn’t just react this way with fireworks. He may respond with equal panic when he’s startled by claps of thunder, a slamming door, or the sudden clang of your pots and pans.
Chances are, he has a noise phobia and is easily startled by loud noises. Here are a few ways to help alleviate his suffering and relieve his anxiety and fear.
First things first, if you’re reading this on July 3rd — as many pet parents will — you’ll want some tips to help you get through the holiday weekend. These will work to lessen your dog’s anxiety, but they will not help the underlying cause of your dog’s phobia:
- Just as you may swaddle a crying infant, you can wrap your dog in a soothing wrap that applies pressure to his body. I recommend ThunderShirt.com.
- Dr. Karen Becker recommends you “Play calm, soothing music before a possible stressor occurs. This may both relax your dog and drown out distressing noises.”
- Dogs are denning animals, so having a dark, quiet space to retreat to may help them calm down.
- You can try to block some of the sounds of fireworks with ear protection from MuttMuffs.com (or they can use a white noise maker.
- Essential oils are another great way to soothe your dog “in the moment.” AllDogsWelcome.com recommends Lavender as a calming option, suggesting, “Simply rub it on your own hands and then pet and stroke your dog near the face so that he is breathing the effects of the oil.
Those tips should help you “get through” the weekend, but remember, they’re just a bandaid. The panic you see in your pooch on July 4th is only a really pronounced symptom of an ongoing phobia or anxiety. In eastern medicine, phobias are associated with the Shen or Spirit which is anchored or housed in the heart. That’s why when you are afraid or feel emotional pain, you feel it in your chest. Well, so does your dog.
Here are a few ways you can help a noise phobic, overly anxious dog:
- Acupuncture is a great option for a noise phobic dog. This can help anchor his Shen to his/her heart and relieve ongoing stress and anxiety he’s feeling. If you know your dog suffers with sudden or loud noises, consider bringing him in for treatment a few times before the July 4th holiday.
- Herbal therapy is another way I treat dogs with noise phobia in my clinic. After examining your dog, I can prescribe an herbal formula that is uniquely designed for him/her and will best support the disconnected and displaced Shen and help balance all of the body systems… for a healthier, happier, less frantic furry friend.