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Calming a dog that is afraid of fireworks

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Our 10 yo dog we got in Feb. is terrified of thunder storms and fireworks. We were sleeping the other night and neighbors set off two loud fireworks and he started shaking and panting for hours. We've been able to calm him through some intense, but quick thunder storms by putting on a tight sweater, applying peppermint oil to his paws, holding onto him tight and watching a movie. Since we are near the open desert, people around here shoot off fireworks late into the night and probably through the weekend. I tried to make an appointment with the vet, but can't get in until Saturday. They are going to call and see what we can do over the phone. Being an older dog that already has a heart problem, we're nervous his little heart will explode. 

What tips do you have for calming a dog on nights like this? I was surprised peppermint oil helps, but it does so I'm sure there's other tricks that might help that I don't know about. 

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Some dogs are helped by melatonin.

playing background music/movie/noise that might help cut down sound of fireworks 

 

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Some dogs are helped by melatonin.

playing background music/movie/noise that might help cut down sound of fireworks 

 

earmuffs or earplugs for dogs

 

homeopathics for fireworks for dogs seem to help some

T-touch

 

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I'd talk to your vet and try any pharmaceutical help he/she offers. Nothing else is likely to come anywhere close to that. IME melatonin does help take the edge off for some dogs, but (also IME) it's probably not going to do have nearly the same effect as something from your vet.

If the tight sweater works then you really might want to consider a ThunderShirt. They don't work for all dogs, but they really seem to help some. 

You can try white noise/background noise/soothing music but it's really hard to overcome the sound of fireworks.

Unfortunately, IME dogs with noise phobia tend to get worse over time. So what works now (unless it's a pharmaceutical from the vet) may not work next year.

Good luck. I hate fireworks more and more as the years go by. They scare pets, wildlife and many people with PTSD. They're something we really need to stop.

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My friend has a dog that's terrified of, well a lot, but especially thunderstorms and fireworks. They have a thundershirt for him and he gets anxiety medicine as well as needed for extra stressful times.

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the last 2 years our dog got relief from CBD oil, it was a remarkable change.  I have to stay home with her on the 4th, she gets terrified.  the last 2 years we used treats that contained it, this year I am using just the oil and it seems stronger, I've already started her on it, the fireworks are ongoing here and we have a lot of illegal fireworks.  I stay with her, and have music up loud to try to drown out the sounds, she spends most of the day cowering under our dining table. 😞  

 

 

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Our Dobie is like that an honestly we haven’t found anything that works. We’ve tried thunder shirt, Benadryl, Melatonin, Ace, Xanax- all of it. (eta- not all at once!)  A lot of it honestly just makes her worse. I try and comfort her without making a big deal. Like, I’ll let her be next to me, but I don’t carry on because I don’t want to reinforce it. She likes to lay in the bathroom when storms are going so we let her go where she feels safest- that’s about all we can do. We have tried noise machine, air purifier turned up, TV turned on, anything we can think of. None worked for us, but hopefully one might work for you though!! I hate the 4th though because of it (and New Years Eve too). 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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1. Peppermint can be very irritating, please be careful. 

2. Close blinds, loud TV on, etc. 

3. Xanas. Very much the Xanax. If he's been seen by the vet recently hopefully they will let you pick up some.

Put in a down stay on the couch next to you, or in a crate, and keep him there. Often the pacing/digging/etc ramps them up more. Calm the body and you help calm the brain. 

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We have 3 labs (one lives with my adult daughter now).  Z who lives with my adult daughter has been scared of storms and fireworks since he joined our family at age 2.  Rescue Remedy (available through Amazon and other places) really lowered his anxiety in combination with the ThunderShirt.  Now at 10 he will show mild signs of anxiety but we no longer use Rescue Remedy or the Thundershirt with him.  Y, our service dog, has been bomb proof since placement at 2.5 years of age.  Interestingly she started to become a little anxious over the last six months or so.  I do wonder if it is because we have so many thunderstorms where we live now combined with fireworks here several times a year versus only twice a year at our old home.  Again, a little Rescue Remedy and she settles down quickly.   So far our 10 month old puppy has been good with thunder, I guess we will see about the fireworks this week.

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I was a dog boutique today (first time!) to get his nails trimmed and asked if they had anything to help calm him because I still haven't heard from my vet. They had homeopathic treats along with CBD. They recommended Happy Traveler which has Valerian root, Tryptophan, and Chamomile, so I picked that up. He has a sensitive tummy to boot, which means minimal ingredients if we can help it. If that doesn't work, then maybe I'll try the CBD oil and then put it in his food. If the vet calls and is willing to prescribe Xanax over the phone, I might give it a try; otherwise, we're stuck with OTC stuff for now. 

As far as the peppermint oil, I should be clearer. We don't apply it directly to the pads of the feet, but to a cotton cosmetic pad and then rub a little to his paw. The last few times, just the scent of the old peppermint pad seems to have helped and I already have some Febreeze essential oil spray with peppermint. It is not something I would apply directly and in full concentration. That would be harsh, his little paw pads would be irritated and feel like they were on fire, that's not the sort of distraction I'm looking for. 😉

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Just a side note, if you do decide to try melatonin or something over the counter- make sure it's not flavored. I cannot remember the ingredient (hopefully Katie or Pawz can), but there's something they put in the chewable version of many medicines like Melatonin that is poisonous to dogs. 

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6 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Also, only add in one new thing at a time! Otherwise you won't know what hurts and what helps. I'll shut up now. 🙃

His tummy tells me pretty much instantly whether or not it agrees with him. I won't go into how we figured out what he can and can't eat, all I will say is it's been a process for sure. He has been doing tremendously better since we got him in Feb. 

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57 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Just a side note, if you do decide to try melatonin or something over the counter- make sure it's not flavored. I cannot remember the ingredient (hopefully Katie or Pawz can), but there's something they put in the chewable version of many medicines like Melatonin that is poisonous to dogs. 

Xylitol

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Our dog who was terrified of fireworks always wanted to hide in the bathtub.  It felt safe to him.  We ended up putting a blanket in there.  He had the walls of the tub around him, plus the bathroom which felt small and safe, and it seemed to block out a lot of noise.  

My dd had a thunder shirt for her dog when they were moving and he had to fly.  They had him wear it off and on for a month ahead of time, and it did seem to calm him.  I've heard it can work for fireworks too.

Edited by J-rap
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We purchased something called Fireworks from Petco but you can get it online. It’s drops that you give them based on weight. It helps tremendously with our Indy. We have tried everything else even the shirts. 

Edited by LongRamblings

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Yes, that was all the talk at the dog park yesterday.

Thankfully ours does fine if she's downstairs with a human and a loud fan nearby. She'll probably sleep on my bed that night and be upset, but she did that last year and was fine the next day. I was exhausted, but she acted like nothing happened. I'm going to try Adaptil for bedtime. 

We're far enough away from the big display in our county that it doesn't affect her. It's neighbors.  

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Our dog has found ways to cope for thunderstorms (finding the smallest space he can fit into that is near his people.)  But we haven't found anything for fireworks ... He doesn't shake or cower, but barks angrily out the window any time one goes off.  We haven't found a way for him to be less bothered, so, it will be a week of sleepless nights as we head into the 4th.  We can plan for the municipal fireworks since they are at a set time - we give him Rescue Remedy and we take him into a room with a loud fan (he still gets mad at the noise.  But the random ones set off by the neighbors at 2 am really bug all of us.  

Last week, I posted an angry vent about someone setting off m-80s in the neighborhood.  I found out later that it was the municipal band 3 miles away that was performing The 1812 Overture, complete with cannons.  Would have liked a warning about that one.

Edited by dirty ethel rackham

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I got a Thunder Shirt and gave him some Happy Traveler on Wednesday to see how he would be before the fireworks started. The TS seems to help a little. I was afraid he would be too hot since it is summer, but it’s nice and thin..The HT seemed to keep him relaxed and sleepy and so we thought he would be ok. Nope. Watching a loud show and keeping him on my lap seemed to be the only thing. Maybe we’ll try CBD oil and see how that goes. 

 

We thought we made it through the night when some  jerks down the street must have found a couple of fireworks at the bottom of the box at 5am 😡 right back to shaking. 

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If it were me, I would use CBD oil and a tight fitting shirt. I had a dog like this when CBD oil wasn't being sold on every street corner, so I never tried it. If you try it, please get a quality brand. So many of them are not. I feel CBD oil is safe and is the thing I would feel most comfortable with. If this didn't work, I would try something from the vet. And just letting him hide under the covers in bed for awhile. 

Editing to add: The neighbors on one side of me must spend an astronomical amount of money on fireworks. What they do rivals the local fireworks display. It's fantastic, but very loud. I'm sure there are lots of terrified pets. To boot, the neighbor on the other side of me decided that was a good time to practice shooting a handgun. (We live in the South in the country, so there you have it. My cat, who doesn't easily startle at loud sounds, was hiding under the bed for several hours).

Edited by Indigo Blue

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