Dogs and fireworks

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by mrpackerguy, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    We've been having an extremely tough time with our Bassett last few days and I suspect for the next few to a week. When she hears fireworks, she starts shaking uncontrollably, pacing and panting heavily for up to two hours after they stop. So I'm out on the porch this morning, checking talkbass and some firecrackers start going off and she's in her tizzy again.

    Last night we gave her some benadryl to knock her out. I suspect we'll be doing the same around dusk. We'll be shutting the doors and the windows then to muffle as much as possible.

    Anyone suffering with the same problem with their dog and what are you doing?
  2. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    Endorsing artist: Bergantino Audio Systems and GHS Strings
    I have a doberman who suffers from storm phobia. Talk to your vet about a prescription ( he takes aplazolam - probably spelled wrong sorry).
  3. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Seems that I recently heard or read some tips for dealing with pets stressed out by fireworks. Don't recall them, unfortunately.

    There are some mild pet sedatives that you can purchase over the counter, stuff that relaxes them, takes the edge off their frayed nerves. It's also available at most of the online pet supply stores. Although that doesn't help your dog in the immediate term (unless you can find it locally), it might be good to keep around for future...

  4. I've got a dog that was always angry at the thunder / fireworks. He'll be 13 at the end of the month and it's turned to fear.

    I love the Holidays :mad:
  5. 69nites


    Jul 11, 2006
    I've had a few dogs (none currently) and they loved barking at fireworks.
  6. peterbright


    Jan 23, 2007
    On The Bayou
    "Actually there are three choices in handling a fireworks phobia," Fortney said. "One is the use of medication, the second is desensitization and the third is a combination of the first two."

    Fortney said fireworks phobias are common in all breeds of dogs. Research indicates the fear usually begins in puppies but no one knows what the original stimulus was.

    "The problem with fireworks is that you can't tell exactly what is scaring the dog," Fortney said. "It could be the flash of light. It could be the noise. It might even be the smell of the fireworks. There are multiple stimuli and it's hard to be sure which one is setting the dog off."

    Sometimes tranquilizers can keep a dog calm, Fortney said.

    "There are a variety of prescription medications that can be used to decrease the fear and anxiety associated with fireworks," he said. "Most drugs are forms of a tranquilizer or sedative which unfortunately makes the patient drowsy. Additional anti-anxiety prescription drugs are available that do not cause your pet to become a 'zombie' for several days. The best advice is to ask your veterinarian which medication would be best for your particular pet. And if you find one that works, stick with it.

    "It takes most of our medications 30 to 60 minutes to work," he says. "So owners have to anticipate when the fireworks will start so they can predict when to give medication."

    Another approach involves desensitizing the animal using the recorded noise from a thunderstorm.

    "These cassette tapes are available in many pet stores," Fortney says. "The principle is to play them just below the level, or threshold, where the dog starts getting scared. If the noise is the stimulus that sets them off, the tape should desensitize them to the sounds."

    Another tip is to use distraction whenever a dog begins to show fear. Try playing fetch or introducing a chew toy.

    What owners shouldn't do is reinforce the fearful behavior.

    "Try not to spend a lot of time petting the animal because it is afraid," Fortney said. "Cuddling the animal, holding the animal, letting the animal get in the bed, these are rewards that encourage the dog's fearful behavior. Try to divert its attention instead, although that can be kind of difficult late at night."
  7. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I have an English Springer Spaniel. They have really sensitive ears. He doesn't get scared of them, but he just barks until he can find out where it's coming from.
  8. nutterisgo


    Apr 29, 2008
    doggie downers do wonders for my friend jons family.
  9. Croox


    Sep 16, 2007
    South Side Chicago
    fireworks/thunder scare the crap out of my dog, his sister from the litter before absolutely loves them. we just give him some childrens beadryl and it calms him down kinda.
  10. RWP


    Jul 1, 2006
    I use to put my lab in the bathroom with a radio turned up loud to drown out the sound of thunderstorms. That seemed to help some.

    That dog is gone now and when I got my two current dogs whenever we have a storm I make it a fun party. They are fine with all noise even fireworks. OH BOY!! A thunderstorm!! :hyper:
  11. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yeah, my guy is fine with storms and fireworks, I think mostly because we humans seem to enjoy them, we even go outside on the (covered) porch and bring beverages during a good storm, and we always bring him with us and make it fun. I have also spoken to vets (re other previous pets) about this sort of thing and they always recommended a product called Rescue Remedy, it is taken as liquid drops, and found at health food stores.
  12. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I forgot to add that my family usually loves storms and we'll go out on the screen porch and watch them. The dog (Harpo) usually will sit inside. Where I live, when there are bad storms there usually are tornados or trees falling. Harpo knows that we usually go in the basement during really bad storms, so when ever he hears thunder he instantly runs down to the basment and will find a place to lay down there.
  13. My dog just barks and runs around the house.
  14. Until two weeks ago I had an 11year old Jack Russell Terrier. Unfortunately he succumbed to kidney failure and we had to have him put to sleep, the house now seems very empty.

    He spent most of his life in a fearless terrier like fashion but the one thing he was afraid of was fireworks - until a couple of years ago.

    Here is the UK, fireworks seem to have become an all year round thing. It used to be that Guy Fawkes night - November 5th, commemorating a folied attempt to blow up parliament was the only real fireworks night and you could plan for that, but now they're used for Christmas, New Year, Birthdays and any time people feel like it, so they started to go off at random all year round and it drove me crazy trying to calm the dog. November 5th turned from a single day into a week or more of public and private displays, plus stray kids letting off firecrackers.

    Eventually, every time fireworks went off I started to hold a dog treat in a loose fist so that he could smell it, but couldn't get at it without working for it, trying to snuffle his nose into the curl of my fist to get at it. I used to let him work at it for 2-3 minutes before letting him have the snack - we're only talking small biscuits here not a full snack. While he was working for his treat, he forgot all about the fireworks. Repeat this several times and you can soon occupy the dog's mind with something other than fireworks for half an hour or so.

    I found that I only had to do this during the November 5th period one year and it completely desensitised him, so much so that he slept peacefully all the way through the New Years fireworks this last year.

    Of course, now he's sleeping peacefully for good. So long pal
  15. Rich L

    Rich L

    May 17, 2006
    Ft Myers, FL
    We've used children's Benadryl (either the grape flavored tablet or liquid) in the past, but only during severe thunderstorms (which can be quite frequent in FL). We were just given a sedative by our vet, specifically for the fireworks tonight. Since kids have been setting off fireworks all week, we did a test run the other night and a 1/4 of the pill knocked him right out (he's a 2 yr old, 10lb Maltese).
  16. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    When she was a teen, my mom had an Irish Setter named "Lady" that would freak out whenever there was a T-storm. She'd run around the house looking for places to hide, barking and yelping. Nothing could console her.

    One day, a massive T-storm came up around mom's house, just after school. My grandma was in the kitchen, saw a flash of lightning, and counted the seconds- one, two, BOOM!! BARK!!BARK!!BARK!!YEEEELP!!

    The boom was not the thunder, it was the lid of the grand piano slamming shut, with Lady inside! She had jumped into the piano and caught the prop rod, knocking it down. The lid slammed down, trapping the poor dog inside. Upon discovering Lady's whereabouts, they lifted the lid, and found the dog laying on her side, unhurt, but terrified. They tried coaxing her out, but the thunder only made her cringe more.

    So they left her in the piano, with the lid propped open only that little bit that the short prop rod allows. Half-hour later, she came out with a hellacious banging of notes.

    Whenever a child would come over and bang on the piano keys, they'd say "That's Lady's Song!"

    This same dog had no fear of fireworks, for some reason, but loved to nap on the strings of the piano.

    Weird, huh?
  17. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I don't have a dog, but I do own two cats. They also get pretty freaked out by the sound of the fireworks going off at this time of year...which is strictly illegal here in the city, just for the record ... :rollno:

    Got my supply of kitty "mellow drops" standing by, just in case my kits should need 'em...

  18. JonathanD


    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I m lucky. My dog benny (rott something mix) doesn't show the slightet change at thunder, storms, or fireworks. He does however get very spooked by parked scooters and any large yard signs....
  19. Gnejs


    Jun 20, 2008
    We had a dachsuhnd that would go and try to bite fountains as they were going off. I'm talking mouth over the top biting. That little ankle biter was scared of nothing.
  20. ubado


    Mar 7, 2007
    My Dobie has the same thing .... he's also afraid of fireworks. We gave him a benadryl ... he'll just sleep through 'em. We'll do the same thing if there is supposed to be a full day of thunderstorms (which around here is very uncommon).