Animals are especially nervous when they hear noises that they don’t understand or can’t see the source of. Fireworks and thunder are known to be a source of both. Help your animals so they (and you) don’t suffer through the night again.
Animals are terrified of the BAM-BOOM-KA-BANG of the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve and any holiday that humans “celebrate” with fireworks, (disregarding the sheer terror they will be causing their companions–or even their neighbors’ furry companions)–and things like thunder and even loud trucks..
More than once, we’ve had a stray bottle rocket hit the side of our house, fizzing out to its end. (Thankfully, they’ve all missed the windows.) The “morning after,” we’ve had to go out and pick up other fun-loving neighbors’ garbage, remembering each time I bend over, how scared their “fun” made my animals nearly jump out of their fur!
As a long-time animal rescuer, advocate and sanctuary volunteer, I’ve had more experience with this issue than you’d like to have in the tip of your pinkie. (I don’t say this to brag—I say this to share how many years this particular stressor, fireworks especially, has taken from the years of my life!)
Along the way, I tried every product probably on the market to help the animals. Yes, for some animals, I use an anti-anxiety wrap like a Thunder Shirt or a similar one developed by the AKC—but you’d better get them on early. By the time the noise starts, it is way too difficult to get a scared, nervous animal to hold still long enough to put their little (or big) paws into a garment! Be sure to put them on in a confined area—inside—so your animal doesn’t head for the hills if they get away, literally. This time of year (and New Year’s Eve) are prime-time for your beloveds to go missing.
Injuries Happen, Too
At my Rescue Ranch Sanctuary for special needs dogs in Houston (remember, I am not a vet), we take in animals that are injured beyond adoption. They need full-time care and attention. In fact, I left my full-time job in software of all things to help these animals who had no where else to go and who would have died–or been killed/euthanized–had no one stepped up to help them. Sometimes, it is a 24/7 ‘round the clock “job” and I am exhausted most of the time, but it was/is the morally right thing to do!
One of our rescued dogs, Pasha, is here because she ran away during fireworks, but it could have been thunder storm (her bed-ridden, pregnant owner thought the back gate was closed and she was left outside). Pasha was (ouch) hit by a car, nearly severing her spinal cord–she cannot walk but can kick once in awhile if I tickle her feet. (Note: Always check the fence perimeter after a big storm, too, before letting any animals out. I have a story for another time about this myself.)
A good Samaritan thankfully picked Pasha up off the pavement and took her to a vet who contacted the owners. They did all of the right things—paid for back surgery, a couple of years of physical therapy, bought her a Doggon Wheels Animals Carts/Wheelchairs and her human mom, even built her a ramp to get out of the house, giving Pasha some independence! (I was impressed!) But, the aftercare proved too much, especially when she had two kids and was trying to work.
The family was giving up/exhausted but they–and Pasha–had tried so hard to survive. I saw their plea for help and said that we’d admit Pasha to the Rescue Ranch. The firework anxiety, however, did not diminish as she ages and in fact, she now associates pain with the noise. She “aarps” (the sound she makes when she is scared) loud, and non-stop, for hours if I don’t give her the calming treats and keep her company. (I don’t blame her one bit!)
Solution Finally Found
I finally came across calming tabs that really, REALLY, work.
Today, reading the ingredients list, I had an idea. Most of us Natural News-ers probably have all of these ingredients in our pantries–or easily know where to find them (or who to borrow them from) so why not just make your own for now and order the pre-made chews to have on hand for future thunder storms or other scary events when making them isn’t so convenient? (Be prepared AHEAD of time for this, than AND the other thing!)
There are three primary ingredients in the calming tabs that I love: l-Tryptophan; Chamomile (from the Matricaria recutita Flower); and Ginger (Zinger Official) Root. Sure, there is some Brewer’s yeast, chicken liver flavoring and other things that help make the supplements into a chew, but the important basics, we can probably all assemble–or go out and get them right now. The mix takes a good two to three hours, once consumed, to work–so plan ahead!
First, I would order some pre-made before they sell out. Tuck them away for an emergency. I always take them with me when we travel. It is a lot less messy and easy to just go without planning! I NEVER am without them. I even use them for dogs nervous about nail clipping!
Then, I would (as a vegetarian/mostly vegan this hurts me to say), cook a turkey breast or some turkey meat since it is high in Tryptophan. Cook as usual and shred it, mixed with some chamomile tea and a sprinkle of ginger. Feed about three hours in advance, since it will take longer for food to be digested than a small soft treat.
For those of you who are mathematically-gifted, the calculation for making a powder out of supplements (and just mixing into some peanut butter or soft food)–the percentage for dogs per ten pounds–of each compound on the package I have is: 66 mg l-Tryptophan; 39.6 mg of the Chamomille; and 6.6 mg of the Ginger Root AND you can buy the ingredients instead of having to cook meat! ( I checked. It is all available as supplements!) Just be really careful not to overdose your animal. (A dry ounce is a little more than 28 grams or 280 mg.)
If you have another type of animal beside a dog, like a cat or horse, goat or some such, just be sure to do your research to make sure that they can have all of these ingredients or see what would work to help them. Better yet, check with your vet if and when you can! (I would sit out in the barn with my animals rather than have them be scared and alone. Turn up some music to drown out (mostly) the scary noises and make it a bonding experience. We do that inside the house as well.
Fireworks used to be an enjoyable experience for me. My whole family would sit and enjoy a night of beautiful colors and new configurations and designs. Now, seeing so many animals in just sheer fear, I see it as a night of terrorizing animals and cringe, especially, when one of those big BOOMS go off (can’t we give those up at least?).
Before sundown, I let the animals out to go potty and then crate them–all. Otherwise, they will hide under beds or in places that are possibly unsafe. In these situations, it is always good to know exactly where each animal is—and not have to search dryer vents and under the car in the garage. Just in case there is a fire, animals will become paralyzed with fear and will be impossible to find or to move. Having each in their own crate, makes it simpler—you just put it in the car or other safety vehicle. Make sure, too, that you have a luggage tag attached to the handle of the crate with your contact info and the pet’s name and age and vet (for medical info/updates) and any special diet restrictions or medications required.
I don’t believe in microchipping (*see link to my article below), so in addition to having the crate ID’d, be sure the animal has a tag with identifying info on its collar, especially your cell number and one of someone outside of the area (in case the signal is down). IF you wind up having a runaway, you have just days to call every shelter, every rescue, hang up posters, knock on doors looking for your baby. This time of year, unfortunately, shelters kill the most animals (so I’ve heard) to make room for more runaways.
I make sure that they have water, which they will drink before the noise starts—and a chew of some sort to distract them for awhile.
Scaredy cats (even if they are over 100 lbs!) get to put on a anti-anxiety shirt, too, which makes them feel more secure–as well as getting their share of the calming mix or treats. Plus, I keep their crates in an interior room, to mute the noise as much as possible and cover three sides of the crate with a light blanket for security. Once in their crates, I don’t let anyone out of their crates until at least an hour or two past the last of the noise—which means I could either take a nap or stay up under 2 or 3 AM, which is usually what happens. Even with a completely secure property, I have seen scared animals scale high fences, belly-slide under fence gates, and even chew their way out of safety, so don’t leave them alone. You don’t want to be the one making those posters overnight, carrying the weight of a broken heart…
IF you have any tips, please post them below, too. We can all help each other! Being a pet parent is not always easy and on days like today, please don’t leave them alone in the house while you are at a party. Leave the party at dusk–or skip it–or better yet, have it at your house—being sure to take all of the same precautions, even if lots of people are around. Keep the animals crated. It is safer in so many ways.
I’m sorry that I’ve been really, really sick the first half of the year. (I didn’t abandon you. Promise.) You can catch up with what has been happening on my Rescue Ranch blog page (link below) and I’ll be sure to write a story about it all here, too, soon.) I just want to help you to help your animals and the more people we can reach (be sure to share/retweet/post), the more animals we can help—together!
Even though I’m not feeling all quite back together yet, I thought that this topic was so important that I had to get out of bed to write and post it.
Sending Hugs from the Herd—the Rescue Ranch Herd that is!
P.S. Please check out my other blog (and photos of the animals I write about or refer to) on my Rescue Ranch site. All help for the animals is gratefully welcome. Please share/post/tweet pass this on to someone else who may have an animal. You may just save a life today. (Commenters, go easy on me, please! I’m just starting to recover…but would LOVE to read some feedback!)
Read more about me: http://www.naturalnewsblogs.com/pet-blogger-new-writer-joins-help-pets-people/
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Remember, the more people we can reach, the more animals we can help!
(Have room in your heart and home to save a life? Just go to petfinder.com and search by shelters in your zip code and animal type and run–don’t walk–to get them out of there posthaste/fast! Animals in foster care at the rescues online, may catch your eye, but are not in imminent danger of death. The animals at the shelters are in great risk. That said, if you adopt an animal from a rescue, you’ll make space for another animal to get out of a shelter that way, too.)