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“What Can I Give My Dog to Calm Him Down During Thunderstorms and Fireworks?”

June 15th, 2018 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Rudy, a black pug, is scared of thunderstorms.

A big thunderstorm is starting to rumble west of Castle Rock…

And like clockwork, Rudy, a six-year-old pug, begins to show signs of anxiety.

Rudy restlessly paces at the sliding-glass patio door and nervously follows his humans around the house (as if to say, “Um, excuse me, guys, why aren’t we hiding?”).

Finally, he can’t take it anymore and bee lines it to the closet in the hallway. Once there, he tucks himself away under a blanket until the storm passes over.

Is your dog is scared of thunder or fireworks?

You aren’t alone. Our veterinarians have seen it in just about every breed of dog.

And yes, there are things you can give your dog to calm him down.

A thunderstorm over Castle Rock, Colorado

Let’s say your dog has SEVERE anxiety during thunderstorms and fireworks

If there’s a possibility your dog could harm himself or cause a lot of damage, it’s time to talk about giving your dog medication.

This is especially true if your dog is home alone during those afternoon storms that rumble through the Front Range when you’re at work or getting the kids from school.

If your dog has severe anxiety, you may notice your dog is showing signs of:

  • Trying to escape (excessively scratching the door or trying to leap the fence)
  • Becoming destructive (demonstrating a newfound taste for drywall or shredding furniture)
  • Becoming aggressive
  • Leaving a big puddle of drool or urine on the floor

What you can give a dog with severe anxiety

We’ll typically suggest a prescription medication that can help your dog take the edge off, such as:

  • A dog tranquilizer
  • An anti-anxiety medication

These meds act like sedatives. They keep your dog from feeling so ramped up and bothered.

For some dogs, meds are the only things that will calm them down during thunderstorms and fireworks in Colorado.

Josie, the dog, is finally able to calm down during thunderstorms thanks to special medication.

Let’s say your dog gets MILDER stress from thunder and fireworks

You may want to try calming your dog with other approaches first.

What do we mean by milder stress?

Well, “mild” is relative. But generally, your dog is showing some mix of:

  • Pacing (your dog can’t relax or sit down)
  • Clinginess (your dog won’t leave your side)
  • Panting more than usual
  • Shaking
  • Hiding in closets or under beds
  • Barking
  • Howling or crying

What you can give a dog with milder anxiety

You may want to give your dog a natural remedy — like vitamins or amino acids — that are known to have a calming effect. Call your veterinarian for recommendations. (If you live in the Castle Rock area, we welcome your call.)

In our veterinary clinic, we have a product called Composure™ available. These soft dog chews are calming supplements that support relaxation.

You’re welcome to come in and get this medication if we’ve seen your dog for an annual wellness checkup in the last year. If you’re new to Cherished Companions, simply book a visit.

Plus, here are some general tips to help calm your dog:

  • Put your dog in a “thundershirt.” It’s a vest that creates gentle, comforting pressure on your dog — similar to what a swaddle does for a baby.
  • Open your bedroom or closet doors on storm days and on the Fourth of July, so your dog has a place to go hide.
  • If your dog is crate trained, you may want to put your dog in his or her crate on days when you expect loud noises or storm pressure changes. It’s a safe den for your pup.

Your dog is unique, so of course, we always recommend you chat with a veterinarian to come up with a good plan for your pup.

Help your dog feel more calm and relaxed

We’re always here to help you and your furry friend. If your dog gets anxiety during thunderstorms or fireworks, call us at 303-688-3757. Or:

Book a visit here

Summer thunderstorm tip: We have clients who come in to get a seasonal medication for their dogs (typically, for the late spring through summer).

If you’d like to help calm your dog — or you want to plan ahead for the Fourth of July fireworks in Castle Rock — call us today.  

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance what you can give your dog to calm him down for thunder or fireworks. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)

© 2018, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

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