Taken from May/June 2019 AKC Family Dog Magazine
With spring finally here and summer getting close, it’s time to start talking about fear of storms and fireworks. Don’t be surprised if your pet has previously showed no anxiety during storms or fireworks to develop this issue. It can become an issue at any age. Our Border Collie never had problems with storms, yet the past 2 years, the minute the sun goes behind the clouds, he is going to our walk-in closet! After he was neutered, the walk-in closet was where he went to sleep off the anesthesia. Every since then, that room has been his safety zone.
So what can you do to calm your pet or get them accustom to storms and fireworks? One thing to try is “getting them used to it,” or “desensitizing” them. With the internet at our fingertips and smart TVs, all you need to do is look up on YouTube videos of storms or fireworks. Keep the volume very low at first and let it play each day increasing the volume a bit. Make sure you are, at the same time, talking to your pet, giving positive reinforcement to them. That way the noise will be natural to them.
Now if this doesn’t work, there are products to help calm them such as thundershirts, K9fitvest and anxiety wraps that act like weighted blankets do with children and people. I know for sure that thunder shirts have a money back guarantee, so you arne’t out anything to try them. Lavender essential oil can also be calming to your dog. Using it or pheromones in a diffuser can provide relief for some dogs.
Worse case scenario, you may need to call us for an appointment to discuss medications that can be given 30-60 minutes before storms or fireworks that will have a sedative effect.