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My Pet World: It’s OK to start planning for your pet’s 4th of July

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

The 4th of July is approaching. My dog is terrified of fireworks. Last year, my veterinarian prescribed Acepromazine 25mg. This medication completely immobilized my dog. I read that it immobilizes them, but they are still afraid. I tried CBD, but it didn't work. Is there any other option to calm my dog during these fireworks?

— Joe, Suffolk County, New York

Dear Joe,

It’s great you’re already planning for that day. The 4th of July can be challenging for our furry companions. Some display extreme reactions to loud noises, such as trembling, panting, drooling, and even destructive behavior.

While there's no one-size-fits-all solution to alleviate fears entirely, there are several strategies to make your pet more comfortable and less scared during these stressful times.

While many pet owners are hesitant to medicate their pets, prescription-strength sedatives may be necessary in extreme cases. If you are concerned, you could try over-the-counter calming chews with melatonin and L-Theanine, which can help reduce anxiety.

Incorporate Rescue Remedy®, a flower essence also known to alleviate canine anxiety, into your pet's daily water intake or administer it directly if your pet is triggered by thunder or fireworks. Consistent use of these products may help reduce symptoms over time.

Consider using calming clothing, like an Anxiety Wrap®, Thundershirt® or Happy Hoodie®, which provides comfort pressure similar to a weighted blanket for humans.

Create a noise-buffering environment by playing white noise, nature videos, or keeping the TV or music turned up. I have found that action movies can be effective in masking loud sounds.

Walk-in closets with clothing hanging can help muffle outside noise; lining that same closet with acoustic panels can create an even more calming place for your pet to rest. If this option is not feasible, draping heavy blankets on three sides of a kennel can provide limited sound insulation.

While managing a noise-phobic pet can be challenging, with patience and persistence, you can help alleviate their fears and ensure they feel safe and secure during stressful times.

Remember that most dogs require a combination of interventions to ease their fears, so don't be discouraged if one method doesn't work. Try different approaches or combine techniques until you find what works best for your pet.

Please make sure your dog is tagged and microchipped with up-to-date contact information in case of separation.

Note: Fireworks can be equally stressful for cats, but their symptoms are less noticeable. They usually seek refuge under beds or in closets. They can benefit from "comfort" clothing and over-the-counter feline-calming chews as well.

Dear Cathy,

I just saw for the second time that you recommended putting covers on your cats’ claws. We had a cat years ago that was scratching things. I bought a set of those cat claw covers. He hated them. He chewed all of them off in just a matter of a couple days, and in the process, some of his nails were bleeding.

— Jackie, West Salem, Wisconsin

 

Dear Jackie,

Thank you for sharing your experience. It's important to recognize that every cat is unique, and what works for one may not work for another.

I appreciate you bringing up this point, as it underscores the importance of considering individual preferences and reactions when exploring options, like claw covers, for cats.

Dear Cathy,

How can I stop my 15-week-old puppy from biting? My puppy is a female Coton de Tulear.

— Carol, Howard Beach, State New York.

Dear Carol,

Puppy biting is a common – and normal – behavior issue. To address this behavior, it's important to provide appropriate chew toys for your puppy to redirect the behavior.

Never use your hands in play and refrain from rough play. Instead, whenever she tries to bite or nip at you, respond with a firm "no" or “yelp” as if you have been hurt, as that is the sound puppies make to communicate to the other that one has gone too far in play. Redirect her attention to a toy she can chew and praise her and offer her treats when she chews on the toy instead of you.

Enrolling your puppy in a socialization class and basic obedience training can also help establish boundaries and teach her appropriate social behaviors and commands, like "leave it" or "drop it," that you also can use when she tries to bite you.

Puppies also sometimes bite out of boredom or excess energy. Focus on gentle interactions and make sure she gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation through playtime, daily walks, and training sessions. It’s a stage she will outgrow, but she needs guidance from you to do it.

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(Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to cathy@petpundit.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)

©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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