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Friday, June 12, 2009

Dog health~Celebrating July 4th BTFD

Dog health~ Celebrating July 4th BTFD (Before The Family Dogs)

Ah, the Fourth of July, the gathering of family and friends, the barbeque's, people blowing off their finger tips with illegal bottle rockets, the town fireworks display, and the drinks! Those were the days of fun and relaxation, the days before the family dogs came to live with us! Did you ever notice it only takes one dog to act like a complete lunatic to set off the whole pack? There’s not enough Prozac in the world for them or me on July 4TH!

BTFD I used to love the fourth of July, we’d bring our visiting New York family to Shamokin, or “smokin’ shmokin” as we New Yorker’s call it, a place that has no money for town revitalization, but boy can they put on a grand pyrotechnics display! We’d park on the street, put on our 3D glasses, strap on a thermos of drinks, and open a bag of snacks. The moon roof would glide open, the seats would recline and we were ready to watch the show. Pure delectable pleasure! Ah yes, those were the days!

At present, beginning on June 1st and up to July 4th (as well as sometime there after) is a total nightmare! Seemingly fireworks can be set off at any time in the neighborhood without warning and clearly by neighbors that are not dog owners, or if they are, then they sedate them heavily before they begin! It only takes one pyrotechnics blast in the neighborhood for my brood to be set off for a continuous two hour barkfest. Once they hear the snap, crackle, pop, and sizzle of a firecracker I know it’s going to be a long, long, night.

It’s about this time of year that I wish I had gone to school to become a veterinarian because surely I would have seven medically loaded needles laid out neatly on the kitchen counter ready to knock them all out. Sweet dreams guys! But alas, when I was in school, unless you were a persistent person, the future for girls was geared to being a good secretary, a good housekeeper or a good cook and we all know where I fall in the cooking category! After my first day in culinary class when asked to touch raw meat, I said, "Adios Amigos!"

July 4Th could be somewhat bearable if there were a specific time frame that we could lall ive by, at least give us time to prepare for the upheaval, the time to tether the dogs so they are not jumping out the window, and the time to mentally prepare ourselves for what is about to come! How about starting the blasting after 9 pm and ending by 11 pm, especially on a weeknight. I'm thinking there must be some rule in place already, but if there is, it is not enforced. Let’s face it, calling the cops on your neighbors, well, that’s just not neighborly, and so we endure and just when we think it’s over, Boom, another goes off.

Enter Rescue Remedy the first big chatter among dog owners, an herb that was supposed to calm dogs from such anxieties. Rescue Remedy came in the form of drops to put in the water or in a spray to squirt on the tongue. I chose the spray since it was only the main instigator, Bentley, that I was trying to calm down at the time. The cost in an herbal store was a whopping $15.00 for a 0.35 oz bottle, but I was desperate. Armed with this in hand I couldn’t wait for the next storm or fireworks blast ‘cuz I was ready to spay Crazy Bentley’s tongue with this miracle product!

Well, that didn’t go so well, I was only able to get three out of the four recommended sprays on the tongue as Bentley paced back and forth in his usual neurotic state and it made no difference in him at all. Each time thereafter that I reached for the bottle just before a storm, Bentley got wise and my squirts started to end up on other parts of his body, like his ears, jowls, or eyes, which might explain why he started walking around like he was blind for a few days!

A couple years later along comes Melatonin, supposedly an over the counter wonder herbal delight to help dogs with thunderstorm phobia, fire works, and other anxieties.
Ah, could this be? A cure to the Fourth of July nightmare? A cure for Thunderstorm phobia?
I highly doubted it, but again, why not try it? So I got on line to Puritans Pride and as usual they had their 3 for 1 sale going on so I ordered 3 bottles and by the next week I was rolling in 360 tablets of Melatonin heaven!

When using Melatonin I suggest you use it not only on the day of the fireworks but days before to get it into their system. It did help the dogs to be a little more calm  and to calm down a bit sooner when the fireworks were over.

So this July 4th you may want to invest in a small bottle if your dog is bothered by fireworks and if it doesn't work for your dog, you can always use it for your insomnia!

Here is information on Melatonin. Always speak to your vet before trying any over the counter medication.

Melatonin and dosing information click here

You can read more on melatonin as well as other methods used for phobias here

Another over the counter medicine popular to use because it makes the dog drowsy is Benadryl. You can read about dosing by clicking here:

You may want to try the Thunder Shirt as well. You can find them in most pet stores.
Thunder shirt: click here

Some people will crank up the TV, turn on the AC and put cotton in the dogs ears to muffle the booming levels.

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