Startled by earsplitting blasts, many pets will endure almost continual panic this weekend. Dogs may hide, tremble, drool, cry, vomit and even urinate indoors or pass diarrhea. Many get clingy, but some will escape their yards.
A freaked-out dog or cat needs reassurance, but shelter from the bombardment is essential. Allow an anxious pet to find relief anywhere she feels better: in a bathroom, dark closet, or a covered crate (door open), nestled away from windows and exterior walls. Unpredictable flashes trigger even more fear. Close the blinds and turn off the TV.
You can cancel some of the racket with a white noise machine or a loud fan. “Through a Dog’s Ear” is music that promotes canine-specific calming brain waves. Mutt Muffs, comfy and well tolerated, dampen loud noises. Promote a calm emotional state with an Adaptil pheromone diffuser.
A compelling, canine-specific behavioral opportunity will make a difference. With the morning meal delayed, a food-motivated dog can focus on extracting his sustenance from food-dispensing toys. Working his brain, mouth and paws will divert attention away from your neighbors’ pyrotechnic proclivities.
There are oral anti-anxiety medications that can be given as needed. Alprazolam and trazodone are helpful for dogs; lorazepam or gabapentin is better for cats. A prescription medication, called Sileo, is a gel given between a dog’s lower lip and gum. With no sedation or side effects Sileo, best administered prior to the artillery assault, is effective even after explosions are underway. You can repeat it every two hours and it’s safe when given with other medications. Your veterinarian can provide Sileo for your dog.
Avoid the old-fashioned tranquilizer acepromazine. Causing only sedation, an agitated pet would be unable to act out its angst. A groggy dog or cat would be trapped in a chemical straightjacket, leading to intense panic. Be ready. Freaked-out pets who are left to fend for themselves worsen with each terrifying event.
HELP FOR SEPARATION ANXIETY: Destruction and house soiling from separation anxiety is a serious drag on everybody. I’ll share new treatments and helpful strategies. Join the group via Zoom this Thursday, July 7, at 4 p.m. Sign up on my website, drjeffnichol.com. Cost $30/family.
Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in person and in groups via Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week, he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post pet questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.