Whole Dog Journal's Blog July 6, 2017

How Did Your Dogs Handle the July 4th Fireworks?

Posted at 10:11AM - Comments: (60)

My husband, who is not at all what I would call a dog person, nevertheless makes some uncannily good observations about dog behavior sometimes. He’s the one who, about a year ago, stated that he thinks Woody is going to be our best chance at having a non-neurotic dog. And darned if he’s not right.

Just waking up

Otto, who will be 10 in November, is, by and large, a content and confident dog, but he does have fears and concerns about certain things, including floors that he suspects might be slippery. He lights up at the sight of a tennis racket, because that means a game of fetching tennis balls, but runs from the room if you pick up a fly swatter, because fly-swatting  . . . well, I don’t know why fly-swatting is so terrifying. He could not care less about gunshots; several of our favorite places to hike are within easy earshot (pun not intended) of a shooting range, but fireworks? Well, every single year, he gets more and more reactive to the sound of fireworks.

This year, fireworks were being set off all around town starting days before Independence Day. Every time we could hear one pop off close by, Otto would come to me and park himself by my chair, shaking and panting. For the actual holiday, I sent him to my sister’s house; she lives out of town, where fireworks are strictly illegal due to the fire hazard. He spent a very restful afternoon and night there, thank goodness.

My town actually welcomes fireworks – it’s a much safer place for them than anywhere in the outskirts, where any spark poses a huge threat of wildfire in the tinder-dry grass, tall from last spring’s record rainfall.  People from outlying areas all around us come to town to light their fireworks. Every parking lot in town, I swear, was sparkling and crackling all afternoon and well past midnight, when I finally fell asleep.

Woody could not care less. Not about the booming ones, the crackly ones, nor the ones that sound like a missile is shrieking down toward our house. He slept through them all. Ah, that’s nice.

How did your dogs do? I’m particularly interested to hear how many of you tried the new medication Sileo on your dogs this year, and how it worked – particularly because I think I’m going to be trying it on Otto soon enough. 

 

Comments (60)

i have not tried this. the warnings on the label are pretty serious so i won't use it.

i found a natural product that people swear by (i haven't received my order yet). it's called Ewegurt at ewegurt.com. i ordered the sardine meal topper (crumbles) and the emu treats. my guy is super terrified of noise - gets very sick with bloody vomit and bm, trembles and hyperventilates. customer service said to start him out with the meal topper daily and give treats 30 or 40 minutes before storm starts - when it starts clouding over. (we've had daily fl thunderstorms for over a month and they start without much warning). hope this helps anyone reading.

Posted by: fave | July 12, 2017 4:03 PM    Report this comment

I struggled with my decision to use Sileo for my 10yr old Pitbull. He is confident, social and friendly in all situations but becomes a dog I don't recognize around the 4th of July. The frenzied barking, running around the house, and the worse part is the fear turns into aggression against my other dog and cats. Crating him or moving him into the basement does not help. I tried everything: thunder shirt, rescue remedy, behavior modification, playing music/tv loud, homeopathic supplements, etc. The fireworks (M80s specifically) tend to go off almost every weekend in July around me. I made the decision to use Sileo because if came down to reducing his discomfort/anxiety/fear. I was very pleased with the results. The medication lasted about 2 hours and no side effects. There are comments on the web about overdosing, I found the delivery method pretty straightforward and if the directions are followed overdosing should not happen. I will use Sileo again

Posted by: NoseWorkPibble | July 8, 2017 5:58 AM    Report this comment

Wearing a thunder shirt (flannel) is hot in summer. Our aussie barks at thunder/loud sounds/fireworks, trying to chase them away. We fear he will have a heart attack if we allow him to keep running the inner 1 acre perimeter of our yard, so we make him come in doors This year, I put a leash on him and kept him on the bed w/me. That worked beautifully! He quit barking, snuggled in next to me and relaxed! Who would have thought that the simple fix of attaching him to me with a leash would quell his fears?!

Posted by: Pakayakers | July 7, 2017 10:08 PM    Report this comment

Sileo and Thundershirts for two of my dogs. Each is a mess otherwise. My youngest dog wasn't fazed by them. Just an occasional bark.

Posted by: cheerily999 | July 7, 2017 9:18 PM    Report this comment

I am very lucky to have a dog that could careless about loud noises. Buddy just wagged his tail and looked at us as if to say "well that was interesting".

Posted by: aylacody | July 7, 2017 1:10 PM    Report this comment

Our 13 yr old Havanese has never been reactive to fireworks or most other sudden noises. She just chills!

Posted by: Darlalucy | July 7, 2017 9:49 AM    Report this comment

Our dogs and foster dogs had very different reactions to the neighbor's fireworks. A foster puppy who was in quarantine in the 4 season room that has huge windows and a view of the fireworks just looked out of the window and had no fear reaction. Our Great Dane mix who is 12 years old was very concerned and shaking (for the first time we have had him for 7 years). Our 17 year old Shih Tzu who has dementia and used to be afraid of the fireworks had no reaction at all. Our 11 year old Shih Tzu trembled the whole night in my arms. Two other foster puppies in the living room slept through the whole fireworks thing. So it was a very mixed bag of reactions.

Posted by: Olivia | July 7, 2017 7:42 AM    Report this comment

Xanax is the charm for Mitzi, my 12 year old amputee who is terrified of rain (even drizzle), T-storms, and of course fireworks. We surmise that she was hit by a car at about 2 months of age and cannot handle loud noises because of it, but that is just a theory. At just 29 pounds she can shake a king sized bed with her trembling, and her panting turns into drooly masses. She paces, balls up every bathmat and dog bed, runs in and out of closets and is downright miserable. Xanax turns her calm and peaceful, especially effective if she is dosed before the first sign of rain/pops. I don't know why you would bother with a drug that can cause heart problems when this is safe and easy to use, and very effective. It stops the panic attack, period. And it last for 6 hours, when you can re-dose if necessary.

Posted by: kimfatty | July 6, 2017 6:28 PM    Report this comment

I have a 6 year old Am Staff Terrier who I rescued 4 years ago. He works as a therapy dog and does not mind bicycles, skateboarders, and I would say most noises he knows are caused by a human do not bother him. Yet every year he is a mess over the fireworks. And they do them around here for two weeks before and a week or so after July 4th. The M80s are the worst. He pants, he drools, he stares up at the ceiling as though it will fall in on him. He does not know where to go to hide and I'm unable to comfort or reassure him. It's hard to get him outside to go potty this time of year. I've tried the Thundershirt, collostrum chews, CBD treats, CBD oil, Adaptil spray, pretty much anything and everything. I shy away from drugging him because I've read that it can actually make the phobia worse when they are still aware of the stimuli but cannot respond as they normally do. Someone mentioned Sileo and I asked my vet, a wonderful holistic vet with 30 plus years of experience. He told me that there have been a number of accidental overdoses of Sileo.

Last year we rented an AirBnB in a town where fireworks are strictly enforced due to the fire danger. This year it was midweek and I couldn't lose so much time from work. I hadn't planned on it but ended up at the last minute renting an interior hotel room in a quieter city (business district) nearby. But by then he was so shellshocked that even the ice machine in the hallway made him run for cover. I took him to the ice machine so he could see what made the noise but his phobia had already kicked in and he could not relax. It takes an hour or more with no noise for him to calm. At least he doesn't run away or hurt himself as some dogs will do I've heard.

I fervently wish people would limit the fireworks to one day a year but based on the bickering in our neighborhood on NextDoor.com, that is unlikely to ever happen. I heard about a town in Italy where they've outlawed the noise-making fireworks for the sake of the animals. If only we could do that here.

Posted by: Jayni | July 6, 2017 5:42 PM    Report this comment

I have had some severely noise phobic dogs over the years, I also operate a small kennel so am on call during storms and fireworks. I have one client who takes Sileo. It works, but it is not consumer friendly in terms of loading the syringe, and then choosing the dose and once again locking. The 2 hour interval for dosing is also not helpful when fireworks start at 6 pm and end at midnight. Also there are numerous health conditions that preclude using Sileo including heart problems, kidney problems, and liver problems. My go to would be Xanax which kicks in fast and has a longer half life. I have used every holistic remedy and thundershirts, but would choose Sileo for a healthy dog where the noise event is something like a short thunderstorm. I would use Xanax for severe anxiety over an extended period otherwise.

Posted by: PodencosInc | July 6, 2017 5:29 PM    Report this comment

As I commented earlier, Sileo is my go-to treatment for two adopted dogs fearful of both fireworks and thunder. My 16 yo Flat-Coated Retriever has poor hearing but can still sense the low frequency concussion wave from nearby thunder and some fireworks. My 12 yo Aussie/Pyr mix has outstanding hearing and becomes fearful on hearing any fireworks and even distant thunder. Sileo works well for both these dogs. I occasionally have to give the Aussie 2 doses (2 hours minimum between doses; 5 doses maximum).

Wear impermeable disposable gloves when handling Sileo syringe. Product is applied between the dog's cheek and gums and can be absorbed into your body if it comes in contact with your skin.

Please read complete product information at: "zoetisus DOT com/products/dogs/sileo/administration DOT aspx" to learn more (DOT

Posted by: JackSivak | July 6, 2017 4:40 PM    Report this comment

I have a very noise phobic dog (thunder, fireworks, gunshots). He is a foxhound picked up as a stay at approximately 4yo who is now 10. I have tried Xanax and benadryl in the past as well as using background noise and counter conditioning (feeding yummy treats like canned cat food!) during the events w/ limited success. I asked the vet about Sileo this year, but b/c he has recently developed a heart murmur she thought it wasn't a good idea (it can lower heart rate and raise blood pressure, thus possibly exacerbating an underlying heart issue). We tried Trazadone (anti-anxiety med) in increasing doses over the course of the week (fireworks went on for a full 7 nights) and it did help but took about an hour to relax him. I feel like dogs raised in a solid home from puppyhood seem to do better w/ these things than the stray/rescue pups.

Posted by: bbatcnm | July 6, 2017 3:55 PM    Report this comment

Jake is a 8year old Golden mix.fireworks make him very anxious, not so much thunder. I took him in when it started to get worse around 5pm. I gave him 3 drops of rescue remedy on a piece of hot dog, turned on music and played some trick games. While making dinner I sung some lullabies to him and he went to sleep. Yes, singing to your dog helps :)! From then on he was fine. Had windows and doors closed. No further anxiety any more.

Posted by: Lollipop | July 6, 2017 3:15 PM    Report this comment

I have Norwegian Elkhounds. Fireworks and thunder do not bother 3 of them. My 4th was hit by a "bad" neighbor's firework (don't know exactly what kind) This was late August, we were out at dinner. We arrived home to a voicemail from another neighbor and said that the people "across our Highline Canal" were setting off fireworks that were like a light show. I went to the back and there was Senta shaking in a corner with a big welt on her thigh. Grrr... Ever since Senta has been terrified of fireworks. This year I gave her Melatonin in the evening (3 mg.) for 3 nights before and on the 4th of July. It eased her stress big time. Her breathing and panting slowed to normal. I even took her out to potty and she was a little nervous, but mellowed right out when she came inside.

Posted by: estee | July 6, 2017 3:12 PM    Report this comment

SILEO WORKS FOR MY 2 YR OLD IRISH SETTER. STARTED TO USE THIS YEAR FOR A COUPLE OF STRONG T-STORMS AND THE FOURTH OF JULY. AMAZING STUFF. HE WAS ALERT, BUT CALM. I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Posted by: KK77 | July 6, 2017 3:10 PM    Report this comment

Let's just say that New Years Eve, July 4, and now any game played by the local NFL team are hated days for me and my dog! Fireworks on all those occasions, despite not being legal.

Posted by: Natalie H. | July 6, 2017 2:53 PM    Report this comment

I have five border collies, all performance dogs. One is incredibly sound sensitive. I leave the basement door open all the time (not just around the 4th) so he can go down anytime. Two others are somewhat sensitive to loud noises but terrible with fireworks. One doesn't care about any noise and and one okay except fireworks. Personally, I hate the 4th of July. I've tried Xanax - no effect; tried Sileo last year -- no effect; thunder shirt - no help. A couple are mostly okay in a crate downstairs with music but nothing really helps my one incredibly sound sensitive dog. He doesn't want in the crate but is a wreck out of it so I put him in a crate downstairs, close the door, and turn on the music. About then, I'm feeling that I'm the one that needs drugs (kidding) -- I just keep checking to make sure he can't hurt himself. He will stay traumatized for a day after, not even wanting to go outside. (I had a border collie once that after one particularly bad year of fireworks, he would not go out in our yard when it was dark -- ever again!). I worry that my semi sound sensitive dogs will become worse just being in the basement with the one who is terrible but really have no other choice. I leave town when I can but that is not always possible. I don't know the answer for my dogs but I keep searching and appreciate everyone's suggestions.

Posted by: checknodie | July 6, 2017 2:21 PM    Report this comment

Katie is my 7 year old Golden Retriever. She is rock solid on everything but thunderstorms and fireworks. My trainer is a strong proponent of essential oils. She recommended using either vetiver or bergamot to minimize Katie's anxiety. I opted for the bergamot since vetiver is one of the odors we use in the sport of nose work. The doTERRA oils are pure and can be ingested or used topically.
I was traveling the weekend before the 4th. I took the oil with me as a precaution. Sure enough someone set off fireworks close to our motel. Katie started pacing and panting. I applied a couple of drops of the bergamot oil to her paws but she was still distressed. I decided to put her in her soft crate. I kept her in there for about 45 minutes. When I unzipped the panel, she stepped out a different dog. She was calm and curled up next to me despite the noise outside. It seemed that she just needed to settle a bit to allow the oil to work.
We were home for the 4th and she showed the same behavior once the fireworks started. We were in the basement with the volume turned up on the television and a noisy fan running but she was still distressed. I applied the bergamot oil to her paws and swiped a little on her neck under her chin. I put her in the soft crate and covered it with a sheet. After 45 minutes I opened the crate and she was calm and even ate her dinner.
Things got really noisy around 11 pm and she simply went back in her soft crate and chilled. I could smell the bergamot so I knew she was benefiting from it. We both slept through the night. There was none of the panicky searching for a place to hide. I will be curious to see if it works for thunderstorms since I know the change in pressure can trigger the reaction separate from the noise. I could also use a diffuser if I didn't want to apply it topically.

Posted by: katydid | July 6, 2017 2:19 PM    Report this comment

Thundershirt did the trick for my 2.5 year old lab mix girl. She went from panting and pacing to calmly laying in almost no time. Worked great for her but every dog is different πŸΎπŸΎπŸ’žπŸ’ž! Hope not to need meds.

Posted by: Stephanie Smith | July 6, 2017 2:03 PM    Report this comment

Coincidental timing had me taking my 2 dogs to their vet for annul wellness checks last Thursday. I have a deaf Sheltie who sleeps through everything. My border collie stresses up at the sound of any loud noise. Repetitive firecrackers give him fits. He'll grab a fleece toy and work it until it is saturated with saliva. I asked the vet for an RX for Sileo. He told me the company supplied samples which his office distributed appropriately. The general feedback was that it was not effective. The vet wrote a script for 10 mg. tab's. of diazepam. I gave my little guy 1/2 tablet 2 consecutive nights and it did take the edge off.

Posted by: bikeandkayak@aol.com | July 6, 2017 2:02 PM    Report this comment

It's like a gift, a happy happy relief to us that, at present, our two dogs are not noise-sensitive. I have read that a great many dogs are genetically prone toward noise-sensitivity and that it is now tested for when dogs are puppies. Who wants a working dog which cannot handle loud noises?

We have owned noise-sensitive dogs in the recent past and it is SO HORRIBLE. Where we live fireworks displays are twice a year: 4th of July and an event called "The Parade of Lights" (a Christmas celebration which takes place at the harbor and consists of decorated sailboats and fireworks).

Despite the fact that, in our area, the purchase and use by the public of fireworks is illegal----there are still many people who think it's fun to set off pyrotechnics before, during and after the two fireworks events held here, and at other random times as well.

We had one dog (Red heeler/Chow chow) who once tried to jump out one of our upstairs windows, with about a 20-foot drop to the ground below. She had pushed aside the window screen and was 1/2 way out the window when we grabbed her. Our other noise-sensitive dogs would cower under beds, shake and pant. Nothing would assuage their fear.

The Heeler/Chow chow would quake at the sound of breaking sticks. It was really quite a punishment for her and us, if there was ever any kind of crack or boom at all.

We would take the dogs far out of town during the two fireworks events. Sometimes we tried playing music, dispensing over the counter dog relaxing meds. But what could we do when some yahoo in the neighborhood decided to set off his own personal stash of fireworks?

Thank goodness the one "we love our fireworks" family either gave up their "fun" or moved away. This 4th of July (only two days ago), all was relatively quiet in our 'hood for the first time in years. Perhaps my two male housemates going up to the (illegal) fireworks' idiots last 4th of July and reading them the riot act helped. I had the local fire department special agent on speed dial, just in case. (Being in year 7 of a bad drought probably helped; the fire department and police were more vigilant than usual.)

Dog and cat owners "get" that fireworks can be stressful for animals. Many other people are so steeped in tradition and "possessive" of their right to enjoy loud noises, they don't care about who they are harming. If it was up to me, there would be no fireworks celebrations here in my home town. One dog (or cat) hit and killed by a car thanks to fireworks is one animal too many.

Posted by: chiwoowa9 | July 6, 2017 1:58 PM    Report this comment

Of the five dogs in my home, three are reactive to fireworks and thunder. The female aussie gets very scared and heads for the bed. The male aussie runs around with wild eyes and can't be calmed down. The border collie hides in the closet. This year I gave each benedryl. They have all had it before so I wasn't worried about reaction. Trouble is they get sleepy, but are still frightened. I bought Compose Plus and gave them double doses on the 4th. It seemed to calm them somewhat and as soon as things calmed down outside, they all fell asleep. When we had booms later on in the night, none of them wakened. I got the Compose at Amazon. I wanted to try melatonin, but one effect of it is vivid nightmares. I have taken it and had to quit because the nightmares were so bad. All three of my noise reactive dogs have dreams a lot, so I'm a bit wary of the melatonin. I've not used Sileo and will continue to track it's worth.

Posted by: Patriciag | July 6, 2017 1:46 PM    Report this comment

I've used Xanax for Bella for three years. Works GREAT! No sedation,no fear or anxiety. One does lasts 6-8 hours,at least...

Posted by: Bella-bean | July 6, 2017 1:26 PM    Report this comment

So I am surprised that only one person mentioned melatonin. From what I'very read, it works for about 80% of dogs. I did try it, and it did seem to work. At the dosage for her weight, she just dozed right through the very loud fI reworks, which are given by the town at a park very near our house. The next night there were scattered fireworks despite being illegal in our county, so I gave her half th suggested dosage, and it seemed to settle her.
I like melatonin as there didn't seem to be any after effects such as that hung-over look they sometimes after drugs, plus it takes like 10 to 15 minutes to take effect.
Anyone else try melatonin?

Posted by: 3grrrs | July 6, 2017 1:14 PM    Report this comment

The only dog we have that hasn't had "special quirks" and many fears-he's Ollie, a Bulldog we got at 15 months(rehomed military boy!). He's quite confident-and he's the smallest dog I've had. Really starting to think it's me and how I've raised them.
Just not sure what that is exactly. The worst/most pitiful is the other dog I have now, Indy, a 220 lb English Mastiff. Besides, being herded to to cuddle on the bed at the first clap of thunder or firecracker pop. It's been a long week with everyone and their brother doing their own fun, and to top it off, I not only missed the memo that the neighborhood would celebrate Sat. night instead of Tuesday, but then managed to take them for a potty break at the exact moment Armageddon reigned down. Think they set a record time getting from the front yard to the bed-and have been worried about what Indy's doing to his kidneys since-have to get high value bribes just to distract him enough to run out and take care of business-and even that doesn't always work. We're in NC and have been having regular t-storms-SO not helping.
If he was human, a dx of OCD would not surprise me at all. We have rugs that are evil(which works for Ollie! He won't drink after Indy so we keep his water safe on the rug under kitchen table), also have apparent haunted halls, paths, sometimes this poor thing literally can not get off the bed(he can literally dangle his legs off and touch the floor, yet can't jump or slide without me trying every trick I have. Same ones don't always work). It's gotten worse, I don't know why or what to do for him-I'm thought out. Am also very interested to learn more of the med you mentioned-have not heard of it before.

Posted by: Raji | July 6, 2017 1:00 PM    Report this comment

Years ago I had a rescue that was reactive to noises like fireworks, etc. and I was determined to make sure that subsequent dogs would not suffer like that. When my 8 yr old Labradoodle, Cheyenne was a puppy, I started by having a big party right before and during the noisiest times. I started by turning the volume up on the TV, dancing around, laughing, having her do her silly pet tricks and dishing out beef meatballs. If a loud noise should come through, I would laugh louder and yell "oh boy, that means more treats!!" We did this through the first several firecracker type holidays and I have ended up with a nice, relaxed dog who looks for her meatballs and then lies back down to take a nap.

Posted by: Cheyenne's Mom | July 6, 2017 12:58 PM    Report this comment

I find Rescue Remedy for dogs a great relaxer for my four legger. I even use it. Be careful the one for humans has alcohol in it. They claim it makes it last longer. I say it makes it taste awful! I tried the dog one and it tastes quite good.

Posted by: eabriggs1111 | July 6, 2017 12:55 PM    Report this comment

I have three dogs, ages 3, 2, and almost 2. My oldest was born and raised until 4 months old in an awesome foster home, my second oldest ran the streets most day, until I rescued her at around 6 months old, my youngest was rescued at 8 weeks old, because her mommy was too young and struggled just to keep her alive. My oldest just won't go outside during fireworks, and if one booms near the house she barks. My second oldest could really care less unless they are too close, and then she wants to sit next to me. My youngest, every time her behavior gets worse. We have fireworks numerous times a year around here... Easter, 4th, New Years, etc. When she was little, she was actually better about fireworks. This last time, a week of fireworks resulted in every day going potty in the house, starting around 6PM. Followed by a night of whining, crying, barking, and refusing to stay in bed. She is half husky and half lab. On day three, I couldn't take the not sleeping anymore. I bought Benedryl for puppies. It worked ONE day. Her husky side is strong, she has a thick undercoat, beautiful charcoal colored, but horribly warm... thunder coat is a no go. All the treats in the world won't convince her to go to bed or accept the noise. I WILL be trying Sileo, and normally I would tell everyone not to drug their dogs, but I can't sleep during the day like she does, and she won't even go for walks again until days after all fireworks have stopped - so no making her tired either. I love my little "wolf puppy cookie".... but she is extremely dramatic about everything. The house is burning if you burn something on the stove. Turkeys are pterodactyls because they can fly (that was extremely funny, actually). Thunder and loud trucks will eat you (unless her sister says it is ok). But at least she tells on her sisters if they get into my plants, try to climb under the fence... or the middle pup decides to try to rip the fence down because of a ground hog. She is high energy, high anxiety, and extremely smart. Next time, I am getting meds though.... I can't do a week without sleep, I am getting old. LOL

Posted by: jeschainks | July 6, 2017 12:51 PM    Report this comment

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Do not use SILEO in dogs with severe cardiovascular disease, respiratory, liver or kidney diseases, or in conditions of shock, severe debilitation, or stress due to extreme heat, cold or fatigue or in dogs hypersensitive to dexmedetomidine or to any of the excipients. SILEO should not be administered in the presence of preexisting hypotension, hypoxia, or bradycardia. Do not use in dogs sedated from previous dosing. SILEO has not been evaluated in dogs younger than 16 weeks of age or in dogs with dental or gingival disease that could have an effect on the absorption of SILEO. SILEO has not been evaluated for use in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs or for aversion behaviors to thunderstorms. Transient pale mucous membranes at the site of application may occur with SILEO use. Other uncommon adverse reactions included emesis, drowsiness or sedation. Handlers should avoid direct exposure of SILEO to their skin, eyes or mouth. Failure to lock the ring-stop on the syringe before dosing SILEO could potentially lead to an accidental Overdose

Why would u give this to a dog why
Give love and time and comfort

Posted by: Jean123@123 | July 6, 2017 12:47 PM    Report this comment

P.S. I was not familiar with Sileo but will look into it.

Posted by: CandaceLC | July 6, 2017 12:14 PM    Report this comment

I have a 12 1/2 year old shepherd. Thunder doesn't bother him. Fireworks never have but the night before the 4th, he was lying out on the deck when fireworks went off and he came running inside. I tried to sit outside with him but he was having none of it. I made the decision to give him a xanax from an old prescription he had when he would stress out at Doggy day care years ago. He stays home now. As much as I didnt want to use it I felt that would be better than him stressing out with each boom. That seemed to do the trick.

Posted by: CandaceLC | July 6, 2017 12:13 PM    Report this comment

I have a two an a half year old poodle mix who is sound sensitive due to two unavoidable scary incidents during a vulnerable puppy period. We have played the "thunder fireworks game" since he was a little puppy. When the booms start I applaud, laugh, and sing out in a happy voice "yay! booms, treats" and start dropping and tossing meat bits. This is pretty much the only time he gets meat as treats because he's a picky eater and I need them to hold their value. I also keep the tv on to dull the purity of the sound. He usually goes from scared to very attentive and involved in the game and we can eventually evolve into play. I'm very happy this year because we had no fear, just worry that disappeared quickly. We even went to bed while it was still going on. I just read on Patricia McConnell's blog that thunder fear frequently shows up at 3 years so we will keep playing our game in the future even as things improve further.

Posted by: Alice R. | July 6, 2017 11:59 AM    Report this comment

Sileo has been a game changer for our old Shar Pei mix. When Bugsy was younger, thunderstorms and fireworks didn't bother him, but now that he is 12, he goes nuts. We have tried Xanax, Benadryl, various other drugs prescribed by the vet, thunder shirts, etc. nothing helped until a new vet suggested Sileo. It is a life-saver for Bugsy. It does wear off quickly, but our vet says we can give up to 3 doses 30-45 minutes apart if a storm rages for a long time. I would NEVER use Ace....that is an awful drug to give to a dog with a noise phobia. We tried to desensitize Bugsy to thunder with the CD's but had no success. Sileo works wonders and I make sure to keep a supply handy.

Posted by: PAW | July 6, 2017 11:57 AM    Report this comment

What happened to just plain comfort and love. My oldest is terrified but every year we sit in the bathroom with the shower on fan on and music playing for as long as it takes. Stop giving drugs and things dogs don't need. I work two jobs but my only job on July 4th is sitting with my baby until she feels safe.

Posted by: Jean123@123 | July 6, 2017 11:47 AM    Report this comment

I've been using Sileo for almost a year and it makes a dramatic difference in my dogs' reaction to thunderstorms and fireworks. My dogs straight up panic at either of those, and we went from dashing through the house, crashing into closets, knocking things over, and violent trembling to alert but calm behavior. It's a lifesaver in this house. And we've tried everything else; calming treats, oils, thunder shirt, even light sedatives. Nothing works like Sileo. In fact, we always keep three boxes on hand now that we've into the Midwest, where thunderstorms are a regular thing.

Posted by: smalldogs | July 6, 2017 11:40 AM    Report this comment

I have been using CBD oil successfully for one dog with seizures, another with age related arthritis ( started on it at age 19 and gave her a wonderful last year jumping and running like a five year old, on no other meds until age finally caught up with her at 20.) Have used a combination of Through a Dog's Ear turned up loud, flower essences topically and spritzed in the air continuously and CBD. Thunder is harder as it is not always predictable and can come up quickly. New Years the doors and windows are all shut so easier to block out the noise. Fourth of July was horrible with random bursts until after midnight. The CBD definitely took some of the edge off.

Posted by: keeper | July 6, 2017 11:29 AM    Report this comment

Thanks for the info. on Sileo. I will ask the vet about it next week when our 6 1/2 yr old Havachon goes for his yearly checkup. He has so many issues, I call him our special needs puppy. His is scared of every little noise, barks at everyone and everything until I tell him to be quiet, and storms and fireworks are the worst. I am a dog lover and after my last one died at 17 yrs old, I couldn't stand being without one. Unfortunately, I bought from a breeder (I think it must have been a puppy mill now though).
My husband has dementia and I have to take care of him 24 hrs daily, and with all the storms lately and we live in an area where people shoot fireworks all year long. (Even though they are only allowed 5 days a year during certain hours.) I am at the breaking point. A couple of times I wanted to admit defeat and take him to the pound.
This dog climbs over every piece of furniture and heaven forbid, do not leave the door to the dishwasher, or clothes dryer open for a minute as he will jump in.
I have tried all of the above mentioned tricks to no avail. Such as: Thundershirt, Benadryl, prescription anti-anxiety pill, tranquilizers, basement with loud music and fans going, lights on, calmness pills, crate with blanket over it (he has broken his eye teeth (fangs) to try to get out!), tranquil sprays, holding him tightly for hours on end...if there is anything not mentioned, please let me know of it.
My vet told me that he was a neurotic mess and gave me the name of a dog
psychiatrist but unfortunately that would be cost prohibited. Gee, thanks for letting me vent!.

Posted by: ree204 | July 6, 2017 11:26 AM    Report this comment

I have Zena a 10 1/2 year old boxer bull dog mix. she has high prey drive. and has over the years became more sensitive to fire works. around where i live its like desert storm on the 4th of july. her sensitivity has only increased since the passing of reno who was my calm male pit mix. nothing fazed him as far as noise.he was her anchor,protector from coyotes and other wild life.

I had tried benadryl,zentrol, and a couple different calming treats. no luck. she was a mess tongue hanging out,panting trying to climb up the front door to run away.

i tried treatibles CBD snacks and drops with minor success.I heard great things about sileo but was skeptical. I just got a new dog from louisiana thursday the 29th of june. while at the vet i picked up Sileo.

Sileo seemed to work some what for 5 minutes or so. I read the instructions made sure it was applied properly and not swallowed. even at double the dose it made no difference on the night of the 4th of july.

I tried to keep all the windows ,doors closed,fan on t.v for background noise dark rooms to help.

so for me Sileo did not work.CBD`s had some effect but not the miracle that i was seeking. what is a new development is the new dog who was barely effected by the fire works laid down by her last night while people were still blowing off there stash`s of fire works. in the past days it seemed her reaction to the noise irritated him. last night he comforted her.like he knew she was scared and that he could calm her down where my efforts failed.

Posted by: Blaznjon | July 6, 2017 11:22 AM    Report this comment

Oh no drugs, please....
Although that may surely be the best for some, personally we used the technique described by renowned animal behaviorist, Patricia McConnell, PhD, in her article "Things That Go Boom In The Night". It worked like a charm for our 8 year old Beagle with a significant heart condition, who normally shivers and shakes with fear at thunderstorms and fireworks. Not this year with yummy "thunder treats" as Pat named them, and calm reassuring humans nearby. Hopefully reading her article will help others!
I am resubmitting my comment because I gave you the wrong article title in my first comment...oops!

Posted by: Surfdoggies | July 6, 2017 11:18 AM    Report this comment

I used the Clix noise CD to retrain two firecracker reactive dogs. Now no one cares

Posted by: Rod | July 6, 2017 11:16 AM    Report this comment

No meds please...
This year we followed the advice of renowned animal behaviorist, Patricia M. McConnell, PhD in her article entitled Things that go bump in the night, and it worked like a charm for our 8 year old Beagle who has a significant heart condition, and normally shivers and shakes in fear at thunderstorms and fireworks.
Yummy "thunder treats" as Pat McConnell named them and a calm and reassuring attitude from nearby humans did the trick for us!
Hope this helps others!

Posted by: Surfdoggies | July 6, 2017 11:05 AM    Report this comment

I tried to get Sileo, but my vet recommended Ace instead so I've decided to get a new vet. I had heard that CBD (oils, pills and treats) have helped. I purchased Treatibles treats for large dogs and wow. They made a huge difference! I gave both dogs half the recommended amount the nights before and the morning of, and then the full dose at night. That plus double exercise (which we always do on tough days) and they both slept through the bulk of it.

Posted by: StanleyplusKitty | July 6, 2017 11:04 AM    Report this comment

I used Ace for New Years and it was a nightmare. I have 2 hybrids and it got to the point where they could'nt move but were still awake and i could see the fear on both of their faces. Hated it! Tried Sileo for the 4th on one the other is less fearful he just hid under the bed so i let him alone. The one on Sileo still paced around but he was'nt trying to chew his way through the walls like before but the fireworks around my house are not as bad on the 4th as they are for New Years so im still not sure if it helped or not. Fireworks last for over a week during New years and very sporadically for the 4th.

Posted by: Dem1diab2 | July 6, 2017 11:03 AM    Report this comment

Tallulah (10 yo pug) has been on Sileo since last fall. And I thank God for it. She's a violently reactive dog to thunderstorms and fireworks. I used two doses on July 4 because my neighborhood sounded like an artillery range, and we had a massive thunderstorm. She was calm without being in a stupor.
It is tricky to get the gel between the cheek and jaw, especially with a pug, but it's working for all of us. I have to get a refill today, in fact. We've been getting some serious thunderstorms in Florida lately.
As long as it keeps working, this is one med I will always have on hand.

Posted by: Southern Fried Pugs | July 6, 2017 10:53 AM    Report this comment

The best solutions we've found are play and Through a Dogs Ear music. With the play, we really get into it and my husband runs around the house with our mini-Aussie! Lol The anxious energy seems to transition to play energy easily and she's always calmer when she's tired. Then we crank that music up LOUD on Spotify and the dog almost immediately seems to space out then pass out! I get no kick backs, I swear. It just really works where the meds never did.

Posted by: Pamelanala | July 6, 2017 10:53 AM    Report this comment

We have a slightly anxious 9.5 year-old Golden who has grown increasingly more jumpy over the years about loud noises and things falling (mop handles, etc.). He was a little *off* from Jul 2 through the 4th, almost as though he sensed the holiday coming. We moved his nighttime bed away from the window to the other side of the room tucked between my side of the bed and an armoire and he relaxed quite a bit. He was clearly more amp'd up on the 4th when all the biggest, loudest, longest-lasting booms were happening, but he was still able to relax enough to sleep. Last night we moved his bed back over to its usual spot on the outside wall under the window, and he was back to normal.

We just talk reassuringly to him, keep our voices low, and the doors and windows closed (which is necessary anyway during summer in Las Vegas). He's so tightly bonded to us that I assume we're able to keep him calm.

The 5 pound Chihuahua mix, on the other hand, who's certainly the more scared of the two in everyday situations, doesn't seem to even notice fireworks.

Posted by: JanC1955 | July 6, 2017 10:52 AM    Report this comment

First time trying Sileo with my noise sensitive corgi and I was VERY pleased. Despite generally worsening sound sensitivity this spring / summer (he is now 6), with Sileo, he did much better than he has historically with fireworks.

Posted by: absIU12 | July 6, 2017 10:51 AM    Report this comment

Worked the first time I tried it and not the 2nd. Fireworks go off in the neighborhorhood as well in designated shows. The challenge is to make sure they don't swallow the med, less effective and for a large dog I need 2 doses.

Posted by: Justjack | July 6, 2017 10:51 AM    Report this comment

My 4 year old 85 lb. German Shepherd does not relax when she hears loud noises. She stays glued to me and sits at attention looking at the closed doors and windows where the sound comes from even with the airconditioner going full blast. I gave her the dose recommended by my vet for 86 lb. dogs. It did not seem to have any effect on her. She was on guard until it the noise stopped around midnight, sitting next to my bed, or outside my bathroom door. It may have been worse if I haden't used it. I'm going to ask my vet about using Benedryl next year.

Posted by: Sophia's mom | July 6, 2017 10:43 AM    Report this comment

I have never had a dog that reacted to fireworks thank goodness! Our current dog is a 7 month old Weimaraner and while he did not particularly like being outside during the fireworks he was okay with them.
I have had dogs in the past that would freak out over thunderstorms. We tried everything over the years but nothing seemed to work. So far so good with our puppy who seems to handle storms pretty well too! Good luck to everyone!

Posted by: Gio's Mom | July 6, 2017 10:41 AM    Report this comment

My Westie, whom I adopted at age 9, was not afraid of fireworks, thunderstorms - only shouting. We sat through Hurricane Sandy when a tree fell down right next to the window. She looked up at me as if to say, "should I be worried?" and I patted her and she laid back down. The two little rescues I have now are quite a different story. As much as I hate to do it, I've taken to giving them melatonin (less than 1mg) AND an herbal relaxant AND lavender in a diffuser. Fireworks, thunderstorms and shouting too...

Posted by: cat.b. | July 6, 2017 10:39 AM    Report this comment

Our two dogs are brothers from the same litter. One, Tad, could care less about the fireworks. The other, Tea (short for Teapot, he was named at the shelter we got him from), hid in the bedroom. I sat with him for a while, and he liked that, but it didn't help. Every time another one went off, he "jumped".

Posted by: Tea%26Tad's Dad | July 6, 2017 10:38 AM    Report this comment

We adopted Sunny almost 4 months ago, knowing nothing about her background. It was quickly apparent that she had never been adapted to life in a house or neighborhood. It would seem she might have been a rural dog. Everything, and I mean Everything was cause for cowering initially. She has settled a LOT but her hearing is definitely her strongest sense and so I had my plan in place for the 4th. First, a few weeks ago, I began running an air purifier on low in the dining room, then I raised it a notch so she would become accustomed to it. On the 3rd I moved it into my bedroom and put it on low. On the 4th we retired to the bedroom early (she had heard one explosion during the last walk of the night and came charging in and dove under the bed). I put the air purifier on at mid level, turned on the tv, and hunkered down. She did remain under the bed for much longer than usual but she did well.
Now to tackle her discomfort around children....

Posted by: VLK | July 6, 2017 10:36 AM    Report this comment

I used Sileo last year and did not find it to make much difference. Plus, the between cheek and gum application is tricky. This year I just put the dog in her kennel. She didn't like the fireworks much but she didn't hurt herself. I think we'll tough it out from now on.

Posted by: dlgoldie | July 6, 2017 10:30 AM    Report this comment

Last year when our newest Toller was about 5 1/2 months the fireworks were not an issue at all so we were not prepared this year for the freak-out. I will say our guy is going through a new fear phase and I should have been prepared. We rushed to local dog store and got Thundershirt and calming treats and they only helped to a small degree. Would love to try Sileo next time around New Years since I live in Alabama and they shoot a lot of them on New Year's Eve. Is this a prescription?

Posted by: Castoways | July 6, 2017 10:29 AM    Report this comment

I have to keep it on hand because one of mine is terrified of storms.

Posted by: Crclend | July 6, 2017 10:20 AM    Report this comment

I have actually used Sileo last year when it first came out. It is a great product!! Highly recommend!! It works in about 10 to 15 minutes. Lasts about two to three hours. Unfortunately one of dogs can't take it. She takes Alprazolam doesn't work near as well as Sileo.

Posted by: Crclend | July 6, 2017 10:19 AM    Report this comment

We adopted Bishop 5 years ago from a shelter. He still suffers from separation anxiety. But fireworks and/or gunshots? Piece of cake. He sleeps right through. First dog I've had that does that, thank goodness.

Posted by: Bishop Street | July 6, 2017 10:11 AM    Report this comment

YES! Maddie has always had her quirks about certain sounds but as she has gotten older it has gotten worse. When she was younger after hearing certain sounds (hand clapping, storms, fireworks...etc.) she was able to calm herself. Go to the basement, hangout in her bed in the corner or even climb in your lap for some loving. Now the she is older she in a wreck, running around like a mad man, pulling down curtains, clawing to get in to the garage while shaking the entire time. Our vet had tried items like Xanax to no avail. When he prescribed Sileo a few months I was doubtful. After her first dosage for a storm a few months ago I am amazed. She is a new dog. She sleeps on the floor or couch and does not shake at all. If it is a really bad storm she may not sleep but is comforted to just do whatever she wants without any indication anything is going on outside. So true to form we gave her the medicine before fireworks on Memorial Weekend as well as the long 4th weekend and we are still very pleased from the Sileo results. Every time I get it refilled, at the vets, I thank them over and over.

Posted by: WebTrixie | July 6, 2017 10:11 AM    Report this comment

Worked like a dream for Dug. Slept through the most of the whole thing. The only bad thing was that the fireworks lasted longer than the drug.

Posted by: snupnjake | July 6, 2017 10:10 AM    Report this comment

New to Whole Dog Journal? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In