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Helping Your Pet with Fireworks-Phobia

June 30, 2014 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode
With each passing year I find more things I cannot explain. Oh, how I wish for the distorted wisdom of youth.

Nearing the top of that list of unexplainable questions is what makes people tick. Ok, I know, that's a loaded statement therefore let me simplify. I would like to know what makes people enjoy certain destructive activities such as setting off window-shattering M-80s, cherry bombs, etc. near their home, neighbors and families. In fact, why at all?

It's almost the 4th. Of July. A day (week) I've come to dread over the past 14 years more than any other and I'm still trying to grasp the entertainment value of an object that produces nothing but an ear-shattering boom, rattles windows, can take off fingers (wishful thinking, I am) and could harm those around them (on a serious note).

According to Amy Shojai's article, “Scary Noises: Fireworks & Thunder Fears? How to Solve Noise Phobias with 11 Easy Tips”, up to 20 percent of dogs suffer from noise phobias (thanks to (FB) for sharing this). My personal record has not been as winning. I'm currently 2 for 3 (at the moment) as our 5ish-year-old rescue, Hope, and 14 year-old rescue, Milo, hate, hate, hate fireworks, thunder, and lightning. (I think that puts me at 66% but I'm no math major.) Milo even hates rain or the threat of rain. Sensing its arrival long before my sinuses even, he begins to pace, pant and hug our sides. As all pet owners who face the same know, it's the most helpless feeling.

Oakley, our 7-year-old Golden galoot, is more afraid of plastic store bags... but, we'll save that for another day.

Our neighbors started “testing” their stockpile last week . It's given me quite the refresher as to what we'll endure come July 4. Not to mention the entire weekend since the holiday falls on a Friday this year. And, quite possibly the week after depending on the size of the arsenals built by the budding Vin Diesel wanna-be's. (or whoever the actor is that blows things up).

All I know is that I'll resort to my own stockpile – of tricks, that is, including turning on every light, radio, TV, fan and air conditioner. I'll spray calming lavender scent throughout the house. I'll sing and dance as I talk in the most upbeat, confident voice I can, telling the dogs and 2 of our 6 cats, BoBo and Odilia, (much better odds) 'not to be silly' and that they 'are just fine' (as I conjure up silent, evil plots in my head of ways to torture the offenders.) And, I'm sure I'll be awake most of the night, sitting up with the pets in a barricaded house that will emanate more light than most of the fireworks displays themselves.

If you have tricks you successfully use with your firework-phobia pets, please share! I'll be awake. Here's to quiet nights filled with restful sleep and happy pets. <3

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