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Doc sez “Let’s stress-proof our pets”

All of us, including our pets, breathe a sigh of relief when summer arrives. The days are longer, the temperatures cozy warm and, for many of us, our schedules relax (just a tiny bit…). And then…Dum-ta-da-dum, it’s nearing the 4th of July. Suddenly, the weather is hotter, the household is full of family and friends and there are FIREWORKS!! Noisy, bright, absolutely-unexplainable-to-a-dog FIREWORKS!

More dogs go missing during this holiday than any other time of the year. Many dogs find the sudden, unpredictable, concussive sound waves and flashes of brilliant lights traumatic and if they are loose outdoors, they will frantically try to avoid the disturbance. So that we humans can enjoy an exciting holiday while protecting our pets, here are a few tips for helping “stress-proof” out pets.

Have a place where your pet feels safe and that keeps them confined. For some families that is a quiet bedroom, a bathroom or any location where they like to hide out in a storm. (For our dogs it is the bathroom or under my desk’’’)

Don’t abandon your pets. Go and check on them. Reassure them and pet them. Keep them company and observe for signs of distress, such as excessive panting, shaking or whimpering. Keep food and water available to your pets and attend to their bathroom needs. If it is during the day and the neighborhood children are tossing “poppers” and lighting “lady-fingers” ask for a temporary cease-fire, so that your dog can visit the backyard for a while. Plan a backyard visit just before dusk to help them settle for the rest of the evening.

If your pet is one of the many who ae truly panicked by the Independence Day holiday, we have several remedies that you can try. For some dogs a simple dose of melatonin may settle them, for other dogs, as well as cats, pheromones in the form of a collar or room diffuser may provide comfort, and there are true sedatives for distressed animals with no other recourse. One of the newer products, that is enjoying popularity, is a gel formula called Sileo, that is specifically targeted to noise aversion and phobia. Sileo should calm your dog with a dose of gel that you place between the dog’s cheek and gum, leaving him or her alert and functional. We have had many reports of satisfaction after the use of Sileo.

We will all enjoy the noisy celebration more if we are not worried about our pets. Let’s plan ahead to stress-proof them this 4th of July!

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