Helping nervous dogs deal with fireworks

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Fenton (WJRT) (6/30/17) - Explosions and flashing lights are part of what makes the Fourth of July so exciting for people. Not so much for pets.

If you're a dog, it can mean several days of agony and trembling.
So many dogs have a fear of fireworks. There are a few things you can do to make it less stressful for them.

Charlie is a typical dog who hates the loud noises that come with fireworks and firecrackers.

"He still gets real shaky. He won't leave me. If I have to get up for something he's right there with me," said Marianne Slaughter of Fenton.

Other dogs, big or small, have similar symptoms.

"Most of them tremble, kind of skulk down, look like they're very fearful," said Sandy Smith, DVM, Animal Health Clinic in Fenton.

There are drugs that can calm dogs. Some would have to be prescribed by a veterinarian. And there's one called Composure. It doesn't need a prescription.

"It works on the brain and so it just calms the brain. So it doesn't make them normal but allows them to cope a little better," said Dr. Smith.

Sometimes exercise before the fireworks go off can help.

"You can do things like take them for a long walk, burn off some of that excess energy, make them a little calmer so they're not quite so reactive," said Smith.

Some dogs like classical music. Others enjoy cuddling.

"There are products such as thunder shirts, which are like wrapping the dog in a little cocoon. It gives the dog a sense of security," said Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith says more dogs run away from home this time of year because of the anxiety caused by fireworks. She says make sure your dog has a microchip or at least a collar that has your contact information on it.

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