Harlow Vs Firecrackers

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Harlow's week of camping bliss has come to a complete stop. We're working from Nebraska for the next few days so we can celebrate the 4th at Chris's cabin and unfortunately firework season is in full force here.

Striped firework tents have popped up in every parking lot turning the tiny town of Norfolk, Nebraska into a war zone. Smoke and sulfur fill the air and loud boomers exploding in the sky can be heard at any time of day.

Harlow is not a fan. Once upon a time when he was a puppy he didn't mind the firecrackers at all, but every year since it's only gotten worse. This year has been exceptionally terrible.

I attempted to take him to the vet today but once I got there I was told they only prescribe ACE for dogs with anxiety. I've read one too many  articles about that drug being really bad for dogs so I got super nervous and walked out. *I clearly have issues and most likely won't ever be able to have human children since I'm this high strung just when it comes to my dog... But that's a post for another day.

Anyway... the really loud boomers started around 8 p.m. tonight sending Harlow straight to the bathtub, shaking and quivering uncontrollably. It was too much for me to bear so I cracked and gave him a Benadryl. After everything I read, this seemed to be the best and safest solution for calming a dog. However it was slightly off putting that the first thing on the back of the box reads "DO NOT GIVE TO CHILDREN TO MAKE THEM SLEEPY." Um what? It makes me wonder how many parents were guilty of this before the people at Benadryl were like, welp enough is enough we better put a disclaimer on the back of the box.

Also does that make me a terrible person for giving one to my dog to calm his nerves? Considering that as I write this he's sleeping heavily in my lap, snoring way too loud I might add (as opposed to panting and drooling like he was last night at this time) I hope I did the right thing.

I'm also hoping his new Thunder Jacket arrives in the mail tomorrow. These things are supposed to work wonders for dogs with anxiety. If it really helps him I'll probably have to borrow it and wear it on Mondays. And when I travel. And the morning of Husker football games when I'm nervous I won't get to enough tailgates/bars in time.

Dog-people I need advice. What do you do to calm your dog during the hellish week of firework season? Thunder jackets? Xanax? Beer? Does anything work?



30 comments:

  1. Our vet advises Benadryl or Valium so I think you're on the right path! Unfortunately the thunder shirt didn't work for us.

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  2. There are other alternatives to ACE - which you are right to be cautious of! I believe alprozolam is an option. Also the Benadryl is not harmful and having him relaxed and not altering his mental state (like ace does) seems much better than him quivering in the tub. Try to reduce outside noise as much as possible- run a loud fan, turn on music, etc. I work at a dog daycare and boarding facility and we see this all the time! Good luck!

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  3. Aw, poor Harlow! I've heard good things about those thunder jackets, fingers crossed it works out for him. My dog doesn't get scared so much as annoyed that there are noises and she'd like to be asleep so I can't really offer any advice.

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  4. We use these treats called Composure. They have worked wonders and I like them because the ingredients make sense to me. They don't make our dog fall asleep, but they just take the edge off of him. He's terrified of thunderstorms, being left alone, and fireworks. So, we'll give him one and he just chills out. Still himself, just less crazy. They are super cheap too so might be worth a try!

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  5. My boyfriends father is a veternarian and he uses an all natural med called ProQuiet which you can get on Amazon. It's basically tryptophan and some Chamomile- it works great and is safe for Harlow. Good luck!

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  6. The Thunder Shirt never worked for us, but I don't see anything wrong with using Benadryl if you know it will help calm him down! There's this music my trainer once recommended called "Through A Dog's Ear" - it's created specifically to help calm dogs down. Otherwise, I just try to be in a room where you can't hear the thunder or fireworks so much, turn on a movie, and make sure that my anxiety about Sprout's anxiety isn't rubbing off on him! Good luck, Harlow!

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  7. My dogs don't really let it bother them but when we travel we get them benadryl to calm them. My vet said it was fine.

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  8. My dog responds well to the Thundershirt! It's definitely not a miracle worker, but he doesn't shake anymore! The vet gave us some kind of doggie xanax that also works, but we cut it into a smaller piece so he's not completely drugged u . Hope you find something that works out...this has turned into one of my least favorite weekends of the year.

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  9. My dog responds well to the Thundershirt! It's definitely not a miracle worker, but he doesn't shake anymore! The vet gave us some kind of doggie xanax that also works, but we cut it into a smaller piece so he's not completely drugged u . Hope you find something that works out...this has turned into one of my least favorite weekends of the year.

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  10. My dog responds well to the Thundershirt! It's definitely not a miracle worker, but he doesn't shake anymore! The vet gave us some kind of doggie xanax that also works, but we cut it into a smaller piece so he's not completely drugged u . Hope you find something that works out...this has turned into one of my least favorite weekends of the year.

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  11. My dog hates them too :/ So sad to watch them pant and freak out.
    I used to work for the SPCA and we used to issue a PSA every year reminding people how scary this time of year is for pets. It would encourage people to take the extra step to bring them inside, set them up in a quiet room or maybe leave a radio on for them, etc. The amount of strays that show up on July 5 is high (though the media often exaggerates this number) because of escapees. I know you're an animal lover, maybe you can remind people to not be dum-dums this year ;)
    Ps love your blog!

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    1. I'd love to help encourage people not to be dumb, any suggestions or tips I should include?

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  12. Aww, so sorry about your puppy being so afraid. That makes me sad! I hope the thundershirt works!

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  13. honestly, i'm with harlow on this. Hugo is scared of fireworks too so we just make sure he can be in a car, he tends to be okay there

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  14. A friend of mine had a veryyyy anxious rescue dog who would freak out every time she had people over. She ended up getting him a thunder jacket and it seriously made a 180 degree difference-- based on that experience they seem like a great solution for anxious dogs!

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  15. My dogs are terribly afraid of them as well. I have to stay in with them on the 4th of July. We put the tv on loud, as well as a sound machine. Still though, poor Bianca just barks the night away. :(

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  16. My little guy is developing a dislike of thunderstorms. I'm anti ACE as well, but have used the Benedryl before on other dogs we've had. And a cat..

    On the Benedryl note - my mother? Totally gave it to us to make us tired when she just couldn't anymore. Except it does the exact opposite on me and my sister - we get super hyper. My brother though? Out. I guess she figured 1 out of 3 was a win all the same. We were (are...) a lot to handle.

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  17. We gave benedryl to our lab for years. She was diagnosed with cancer when she was about 8 years old and she was given 2-4 benedryl a day for the rest of her life to help control the tumors. She lived to be exactly 15-1/2 years, which is pretty old for a lab! So I wouldn't worry about giving benedryl to Harlow. It obviously doesn't hurt dogs.

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  18. Poor Harlow :( Here in bellevue, I've heard firecrackers since the 3rd week in June. Our neighbor has a dog, and it has like a "safety blanket", that it goes under for a while and she says is usually okay, but will still whine here and there. I hope his thunder jacket helps him!

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  19. My grandparents' dog is afraid of thunderstorms so they have the thunder jacket & they say that it helps & then they just sit with her. Poor Harlow. :(

    Mandie ~ http://badbrewpack.blogspot.com/

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  20. We have a thundershirt for our coco because she freaked out and pooped in my car one time because she hates the car so much. I don't know if it works but she looks really really cute in it!

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  21. I have given my dog Benadryl before for the fireworks and it didn't work. This is going to be the second year that I've had him and I bought these treats that I'm told should really help calm his nerves. I'm hoping this helps because last year was a nightmare. If that thunder jacket ends up working for Harlow I might have to invest in one for my dog! It's probably going to be a long weekend. However, I hope this thunder jacket helps Harlow! I hate seeing my dog so scared so I'm sure you feel the same way with Harlow!

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  22. Not sure what,s available in USA but I,ve had good results with DAP ( dog appeasing pheromone) plug ins . We make sure we start one a couple of weeks prior to bonfire /Guy Fawkes night as well as New Years, (Hogmanay in Scotland) They have made a noticeable difference to my dogs and also use the spray liberally for an instant hit of calm. They also do impregnated rubber collars but with 2 crazy nutter dogs these lasted approx 5 minutes in our house without being chewed off. Highly recommended and will totally try benadryl too in future x

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  23. What alison wrote above my vet let my buy a plug in that helps calm dogs nerves since ours freaks when she has to be crated when we leave since she's just a puppy. Going to give it a shot and see how she does with all the firecrackers here in a few days. I have heard really good things about the Thunder jackets and of course good ole Benadryl. :)

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  24. We've tried Benadryl and Xanax with minimal success. Closing the windows works best. 😞 good luck!

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  25. Oh and the Thunder shirt too.

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