Summer means fun to a dog, but it also means fireworks, thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes. It can be very challenging to keep pets calm during these events. We’ve got some natural ways to help your pets that won’t interfere with treatment for other conditions (like yeast)!
Feed your pets earlier in the day so they’ve had time to digest. Many pets become so stressed during fireworks that they experience severe stomach upset. If your pets are upset by the noise, you should stay home with them or higher a pet sitter to stay with them.
Finally, while some dogs will require prescription medication, we urge you to try any one or a combination of these products before you resort to prescription calmants.
Non-medical Solutions to Calm Your Pet
Whether you take your dogs for a late afternoon run or spend a few minutes on the treadmill, it’s very important to tire your dogs out before any major event. This ensures they have less energy to expel during the storm or fireworks.
Learn to recognize and acknowledge your dog’s calming and "self-soothing" signals. These signals are “quirks” that we see in pets who are stressed. They may include yawning, turning away from the discomfort, flicking the tongue or licking the muzzle. They may freeze in place or keep their head low to the ground.
If you see this “self-soothing” behavior, it’s time to distract and calm. This may include filling a kong toy with a tasty treat, moving your dog into “training” mode by giving them a specific task (like a smart toy), or even just moving them to a new situation.
Did you know baths can be calming for pets? If your dogs love it when you give them a bath, try our Dead Sea Salt Scrub prior to shampooing. Not only does this support removing old, dead skin cells, it contains rosemary essential oils for relaxing your pets, and a combination of three sea salts (including Epsom), which helps detox and relax your pet.
Television for Pets
TV for pets? Yes, there is a special channel devoted to keeping your pets calm and engaged. DogTV is a simple way to keep pets calm when you’re away from the house or when something in the house is stressing them. They offer a collection of programs for dogs, including a “relax” special. Just turn it on, sit on the couch and relax with your pet!
Compression Shirts / Calming Coats
Calming coats are ideal for dogs who are upset over a storm, fireworks or any other extreme event. These operate by stimulating key pressure points on your dogs.
Follow the directions for each individual jacket to get the best fit. Make sure your shirt or jacket offers UV protection and doesn’t make your pet warm if you live in the southern states.
Design a Safe Space
Crating is a proven way to reduce stress in pets, but it only works if the dog already views the crate as their ‘safe spot”. This requires training and planning.
It’s best to avoid this method if you have never crated your pets before. Instead, you may want to designate a quiet room for your pet or even making a blanket fort where the two of you can cuddle and read aloud. The goal is to create a space where your dog feels safe.
Music soothes the savage beast, but only the right kind of music. Like humans, pets have their favorites. Download a playlist for pets on YouTube or purchase specific music designed for pets. Check out Pet Tunes or Songs for Dogs.
Pheromones can be a lifesaver for dogs and cats who are stressed out due to fireworks, thunder, new environments, travel and even other animals. Look for Adaptil (for dogs) or Feliway for cats.
There are thousands of natural remedies for pets, but it's important you choose one that works for yoru pet. This may require some experimenting before summer. But, if you're just now looking into this, we have a suggestions.
- LICKS® Zen™ provides support in times of environmentally-induced stress such as thunderstorms, fireworks, and travel.
- Natura Natura Petz Serenity Zen: This all-natural supplement contains a variety of natural plant chemicals, including valepotriates, alkaloids, lignans, volatile oils, flavonoids, amino and fatty acids, glycosides, choline, quercetin, glucose and enzymes, used holistically to relax and calm an anxious, stressed dog or cat.
- Rescue Remedy: Bachs Rescue Remedy is a natural remedy that can be added to your dog’s water. The blend of five Bach Flower Remedies are especially beneficial when your dog finds himself in stressful situations.
Calming Treats and CBD
Herbal and CBD calming treats have been around for ages, but they've improved with age. CBD based treats are ideal for pets who are sensitive to other medications or herbal remedies.
There are several vendors focused on meeting the stringent standards of the companion pet industry - so make sure you do your homework. Good starting points are:
- Treatibles: They offer a wide selection of CBD products designed specifically for pets. Specific treats help promote relaxation, calmness and even digestion support for your dog.
- CannaPet: Their organic CBD pet products have been formulated with the highest quality hemp extract for your pets.
Essential Oils and Hydrosols
Hydrosols are a result of the steam distillation process used to make essential oils. Hydro (water) and sol (solution) are basically a more dilute form of essential oils.
To make an essential oil, plant matter is placed in a large container that has a bottom portion filled with water. As the water heats, the plant matter is steamed, which releases the plant’s oils. These oils are collected in a separate container, and the fragrant water left behind is the hydrosol.
Hydrosols are much better for use around pets, and just as effective as essential oils. Use directly on animals or place in water.
If you don’t have a diffuser, run out and buy one today. Fill the diffuser with water, add a few drops of Lavender, and you’ll be well on your way to a relaxed evening.
Always use the best quality of essential oils. Ask the vendor for testing data or examine the properties in reports. Essential oils can be dangerous when using a cheap oil or not understanding which oils are dangerous (even fatal) for pets.
We love Canine Calm from Earthheart for keeping our dogs relaxed.
Choose calming essential oils like lavender, Roman chamomile, and custom blends can be diffused in open rooms to help calm pets. However, be sure to leave a door or window open so pets don’t become overwhelmed by the scents and use extreme caution when diffusing or using essential oils around cats.
We hope this helps you and your dog have a relaxing summer, despite the fireworks and storms!