Fireworks, Thunder, Loud Noises – Oh My!

Chipper and Harmonease

Chipper and Harmonease

It’s starting again – firecracker season – is your dog ready? Are you? The fourth of July is just around the corner.

Two years ago, Chipper’s anxiety caused him to hide under my mom’s bed, cringing and shaking for the month-long celebration of the holiday that occurred in his old neighborhood.

Cassie used to wake us up in the middle of the night by pacing on top of us. I dreaded the nights when the thunderstorms continued for hours, leaving me sleep deprived.

So why are dogs afraid of thunder and fireworks? First, they can hear much better than we can and can feel changes in the atmosphere, such as drops in barometric pressure during a storm. But usually their fear is due to us – yes us. The first time the dog cringes or pokes us after hearing a loud noise, what do we do? We pet them, cuddle with them, thus reinforcing the effect. I always try to de-sensitize my dogs by taking them camping, to fireworks displays, and not making a big deal of the noise. Cassie wasn’t afraid for years, until an extremely loud clap of thunder directly over our house made me jump out of bed, and startled her as well. I probably petted her, and she became fearful ever since.

What can we do?

  • I recommend Harmonease anti-anxiety pills for dogs http://www.harmonease.com/ Harmonease will not make them dopey. It has no visible side effect that I can tell. It’s a natural blend of extracts of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense.

I started Chipper and Cassie on these pills in July 2013 and have not looked back. Chipper receives a half pill a day during thunderstorm season, from late April through late September. Cassie did too, until she passed away last month. Chipper now only has mild anxiety during the loudest sounds, such as the evening of the Fourth of July, or a loud clap of thunder, causing him to poke me gently or lay at my feet, very easy to tolerate. After the worst part of the storm passes he goes back to sleep.

  • A training tip I have used once on a friend’s dog (Zolabud) who was crazy out of her mind with fireworks shot off while we were camping. It’s the “settle” command discussed in this article on WebMD http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/dog-storm-phobia . I placed Zolabud on a tight leash and stepped on it, making it very tight, so she could only lie down. After a few minutes of struggling, she lay down and didn’t cause any more problems the rest of the night.

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