It’s the 4th of July, and the whole family is in the backyard, grilling, swimming, lighting sparklers, and having a great time. Meanwhile, the dog’s inside, hiding under the bed, panting, trembling, and whining. Sound familiar? According to a recent article in the New York Times, approximately 40 percent of dogs are affected by noise anxiety, with incidences occurring more frequently during the summer. Fear of loud noises, such as fireworks, can begin at any age, and often gets worse with time instead of better.

Training desensitization to loud noises can take months, if not years to accomplish, and may never achieve the desired goal. There are many options to try to help ease the stress for your dog in the short-term:

Pressure wraps. The swaddling effect created by a pressure wrap can soothe your dog. A tight fitting t-shirt can simulate this, but there is also a product called the Thundershirt that is specifically designed to conform to your dog’s body. SSAH has Thundershirts for purchase and will happily find you the appropriate size for your dog, as well as show you how to wrap them correctly.

Creating a safe place. If your dog is crate-trained, this may be as easy as adding some additional blankets to their crate and something to chew on to take their mind off the noise. If your dog doesn’t have a crate, then making a cozy spot for them in a bathroom, closet, or other small room can help create a comforting environment for them.

Natural supplements. There are a few products that don’t require a prescription that supply a natural solution for anxiety. Rescue Remedy is a popular herbal product that can be added to your pet’s drinking water. Chewable treats that contain soothing natural components such as L-theanine can also be purchased over the counter. SSAH carries a new supplement called Solliquin that contains L-theanine to help soothe dogs and cats with anxiety. We also have behavioral pheromone treatment products called Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. These can be administered in a variety of ways including sprays, diffusers, and collars.

Prescription medications. If you’re unable to encourage relaxation in your pet from any of the above methods and products, there are a couple of prescription medications that can be tried. SSAH is now carrying a new medication called Sileo. Sileo is administered as an oral gel, that is a very dilute form of a sedative commonly used in veterinary medicine and already known to be safe for dogs. While it is commonly used as a sedative, the Sileo does is mild enough to reduce their stress response to loud noises, but they are still able to interact as they do normally. To discuss Sileo or other options for your pet, please call or schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians so we can assess which medication is the appropriate fit for your pet.

According to the recent NY Times article, the busiest day for animal shelters taking in runaway pets is July 5th. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identifying tags attached securely. Minimize trips outside and always walk your dog on a leash. You may even consider using a harness for added security. SSAH provides microchipping services for your pet, but if they already have one, you may need to make sure it’s been updated with your most up-to-date contact information.

If you have product questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians to assess the best plan for your individual pet, please give us a call at (512) 345-2727. We at Spicewood Springs Animal Hospital are wishing you and your pets a safe and fun Independence Day!