Happy Birthday America!! Let’s Celebrate (But your dog prefers to chill out)!!!: Keeping our pets calm during 4th of July Festivities.

Most of us consider Independence Day one of the most festive, celebratory holidays of the year. We customarily break out the loud music, gather socially (although this year, we will be celebrating while keeping our distance), and of course, THE FIREWORKS!! As we prepare for our 4th of July festivities, we should consider the needs of out pets’, who tend to like this particular holiday the least!

In general, it is most effective manage your pet’s anxiety if you stay ahead of the game and provide relaxation before the anxiety inducing stimulus actually takes place.
Below are some tips to help keep your pets calm during the 4th of July Festivities:

  • Calming herbs and supplements:
    • L-Theanine- Many “calming” pet treats or supplements contain the active ingredient called L-theanine. This is a calming amino acid (similar in effect to tryptophan) that can help provide relief for mild anxiety. Common, reputable products include Composure (Vetri Science) and Solliquin (Nutramaxx Laboratories). These are typically available over-the-counter at online retailers like chewy.com or amazon.com.
    • CBD or Therapeutic Hemp– CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that can help provide both relaxation and mild pain relief. This is a growing trend in both veterinary and human medicine. The problem with CBD is there is a lack of regulation and oversight in the industry, so not all products are created equally. Also, there is a lack of evidence-based research that identifies the mechanism, safety and efficacy. That being said, anecdotally, if you are using a reliable (vetted) product, CBD is proving to be safe and effective in managing pain and anxiety. West Delray Veterinary has a proprietary brand called Bloom Natural available at our office. Other reputable sources include ElleVet, Pet Releaf, and Treatibles.
    • Homeopathics– Dr. Bach’s Rescue Remedy- This is a proprietary floral blend homeopathic remedy that is helpful for mild anxiety.
  • Safe and Effective Sedatives from your veterinarian
    • Trazodone- this is a safe, point-of-care SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibiter). It is often used as a sleeping pill and/or anti-anxiety medication in people. It has become a preferred sedative in dogs as it is very safe and usually reliably effective at providing appropriate levels of sedation/relaxation when dose properly. Typical dosing ranges from 4-10mg/kg and should be given at least an hour prior to anticipated anxiety.
    • Sileo- this is an oral alpha-2 receptor agonist that is a stronger sedative. It was released and is FDA approved to help prevent severe noise induces anxiety (thunderstorms, fireworks, etc.). Sileo is safe in young, healthy dogs. Caution in older dogs or those with underlying cardiac disease.
    • Acepromazine- this is a more classic tranquilizer that has fallen out of favor due to its increased side effect profile. However, many veterinarians still reach for this medication, as it is still appropriate for young healthy dogs with severe anxiety.
  • Environmental modifications:
    • Playing calming music or using white noise machines may help drown out some of the noisy fireworks that can be disturbing to your pets.
    • Using pet approved calming Lavender essential oils. I like Doterra or Young Living brands as pure, safe and effective options for pets
    • Using pheromone diffusers/sprays like Adaptil may help keep the calm in the home.

We would like to wish everyone an enjoyable and stress free 4th of July celebration for you and your pets. If you would like to discuss how to keep your pets relaxed during the festive holiday weekend, then please feel free to give us a call!

Happy Birthday America!!

Dr. Block and Team at West Delray Veterinary