July 2021

Many pets can be sensitive to noises such as thunder or fireworks.  Individual pets may vary in their sensitivity to these loud noises from mild to severe phobias.  Thankfully there are a variety of strategies you can use to help ease your pet through these occurrences. These strategies may include non-medical and medical management.

Non-medical management can include calming background music or other white noise.  It is best if instrumental music is chosen which does not contain vocals to maximize the calming effects and benefits.  Another option is the use of thunder shirts, which are multi-layer wraps which allow your pet to move freely but apply pressure.  This pressure can have a calming effect.

In addition, you may want to set up a safe space for your pet during thunderstorms and fireworks.  Ideally, this would be in a room without any windows and may be in a closet.  You can place your pet’s favorite bed or blankets and have instrumental music playing as well.  You may choose to use pheromone products such as Adaptil for your dog.  These mimic pheromones that puppies receive from their mother when they are nursing and may have a calming effect.

If these non-medical options are not enough to calm your pet’s anxiety, you may want to discuss medical options with your veterinarian.  Typically, these fall into neutraceutical or pharmaceutical categories.  Nutraceuticals may include such products as Solliquin or Composure which contain calming ingredients such as amino acids derived from milk protein or colostrum.

Pharmaceutical options can include antianxiety medications.  Please discuss these options with your veterinarian to determine if a medication may be appropriate for your pet.  Some veterinarians will prescribe fast-acting medications for episodic anxiety for pets that are truly anxious during stressful events.  These may include trazodone or other options.  Pets that suffer from generalized anxiety disorder or severe separation anxiety may be prescribed medications for daily use such as clomipramine or fluoxetine, among others.  If your pet is prescribed these medications, your veterinarian may recommend regular bloodwork to ensure that your pet is healthy.  Medications tend to work best in combination with other behavioral therapies described above.

For more information, please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian today.

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