Friday, July 1, 2016

How to stay safe when life gets LOUD

With the July 4th celebrations upon us, it’s time to have the ever popular talk about loud noises, and what it means for your dog. About one third of dog owners report their fuzzy friends have what we in the ‘biz’ call “noise aversion”... or a fear of loud noises. These loud noises could be in the form of thunder, loud cars, construction, or at this time of year, fireworks.  Dogs relay their fear of noise in a variety of behavioral ways including panting, trembling, drooling, cowering, and escape behavior. Escape behavior is particularly dangerous to your canine companion if you happen to be out of your home or in a public place when the event strikes. Here’s a refresher course on how to keep your furry friends safe at this potentially stressful time of year:

                Be ahead of the game: Anticipate events and weather (as best you can in these parts) and anything else that can be a potential stressor for your pooch and set him up to win. This may be making sure he’s in a safe place in the morning if you know there will be storms later in the day, medicating him, or making sure you’re able to be with him at the time of the event.  

                 Plan for the best; prepare for the worst: We all know that even with the most meticulous planning, things can still go wrong. There are a couple ways to be prepared; one is making sure you know where your local emergency clinics are in case something goes wrong outside of your regular veterinarian’s business hours. Another simple method is making sure your pet has proper identification in the event of an escape. Many larger pet supply stores can hook you up with a personalized tag in a matter of minutes. Alternatively you can have your pet microchipped, and their ID can travel along with them forever. Microchipping is a quick procedure that can be done by your vet, typically without sedation.

Know their limits: As much as you may wish you had the kind of dog that could peacefully sit through a fireworks finale, or won’t wake you up at 3 am because a storm is coming, not everyone is that lucky. A dog’s tolerance to stressful events can often run on a sliding scale of positive and negative reinforcements. Meaning, if your dog already stresses out at certain events, forcing him to do them are not the way to get him accustomed to them, it’ll just make it a more stressful event. Talk to your vet or a trainer about steps you can take to help your furry friend work through his fears. Bonus points: training can help you bond with your pooch.        

                Know when to ask for help: There are many products on the market that claim to help with your pet’s stress level. Though you can spend the time and effort to sift through the product claims, remember that it’s our job to do that; let us help! You may have already heard of the newest product we’re carrying to help pets with their noise related stresses; Sileo. In a nutshell, it’s a product that can be administered to your pet at the time of the stressful event. Feel free to call us and ask what the best course of action is to help your pet with their stresses.

                Having a reactive pet can be a little stressful to YOU as well. As with any issue you may face on the long and windy road of pet ownership, remember that we here in the vet care industry want nothing more than to help you keep your pet safe and healthy. Though it’s been said, many times, many ways, keep your pets safe this Independence Day.