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4 ways to calm your dog's anxiety over fireworks

Patriotic and stress-free. (Photo: Flickr/Mark Herpel)

4 ways to calm your dog's anxiety over fireworks

Tom Musbach

By Tom Musbach on July 02, 2012

Your dog probably isn't excited to celebrate the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve.

The loud noises of fireworks that explode at random intervals -- sometimes over multiple days -- can cause anxiety for many dogs. To calm your dog during this holiday, many veterinary Experts on JustAnswer recommend the following four remedies.

Sedatives you can try

Some of the same substances that work to relax humans can also work on your dog.

"Melatonin is an over-the-counter drug that can be used to treat some anxiety issues in dogs," said Lisa Lepak, a veterinary technician on JustAnswer. "The dose you would give would be up to 3 mg (less for smaller dogs), given orally whenever necessary for up to every 8 hours. Get more information at this PetPlace link, which includes risks, dosage recommendations, and other useful bits of information."

It is possible to use Xanax (if you have it) to calm dogs down. "There is a wide dose range from 0.01 to 0.1 mg per kg of body weight, so the range for a 22-lb. dog (or 10 kg) would be 0.1 to 1 mg," said Dr. Denise Colgrove. "A common 0.5 mg pill would be fine."

Special accessories with calming effects

Dr. Deb recommends trying the "Thunder shirt," which has a snug fit over the upper section of your dog's body.  "This employs the same concept as swaddling an infant. It can help with thunderstorm anxiety and many other anxieties."

"Something you could also try for relaxing your dog a bit would be something called a DAP collar," said Dr. Matt, another veterinarian on JustAnswer. "It releases natural dog pheromones that can help relax your dog in a variety of situations."

All of the Experts also encourage having your dog checked out to make sure the anxiety or its manifestations are not related to an underlying medication condition, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease.

Using one of the remedies above could ensure that your dog enjoys the holiday, too.