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Keeping the bang out of your dog’s 4th of July

Fireworks DisplayIt’s the day before the 4th and at least in my area, the fireworks started days ago.  Normally not a big issue, but if you have a dog who is sensitive to the noise fireworks make, it can make a very anxious end for the holiday.

My current crew doesn’t mind the fireworks, but the very first dog I ever owned, Whitney, hated them.  The first 2 years were not bad, but then she started to become very anxious during thunderstorms and fireworks.   She would pace and pant very heavily.   At first we tried to comfort her and then when we saw that wasn’t working, we ignored the behavior.  Her tolerance stayed the same for many years.  Then when she was about 11 years old, she really got bad during a storm or fireworks.  I did what most people do, I asked my vet for a tranquilizer.  It worked all right.  Instead of just mellowing her out, it knocked her out.  It knocked her out so deeply, I kept checking to be sure she was breathing.  Not the solution I was looking for. (Note: dogs can react differently to medications.  I gave the same dose to another dog of the same size for a different issue and you couldn’t even tell he had been given a tranquilizer).

About that time someone posted about her experience using melatonin for noise sensitivity on the recommendation of a veterinary behaviorist who had written a case study for the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  I figured I would Fireworks displaytry it.  All I had to lose was the cost of the melatonin.   I bought the 3mg size and eagerly awaited the next thunderstorm.  The next time a thunderstorm warning was posted, I got out the pills and gave Whitney one.  Then waited.  When the rumbling began in the distance, I really started to watch Whitney.  She didn’t even seem to notice.  She even decided to take a nice little nap during the storm.  No pacing, no panting, just calmness.  Okay, was I sold.  I continued to use the melatonin for Whitney for a few years.  Eventually, her hearing went and she wasn’t able to hear the thunderstorms or fireworks so wasn’t stressed by them.

Like anything, this seems to work for some dogs and not others  (for us, they worked best when given before the storm or fireworks began.).  I had a friend who tried it with her dog and didn’t see any change.   For some different ideas of things to try visit-http://www.wagntrain.com/independence_day.htm .  This page also has the original post I had read about using melatonin for noise sensitivity.  Print it out to discuss with your vet. It gives the issue of the JAVMA that the case study appears in so they can reference it. I would love to hear about anything that has worked for you and your dog.

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