Every year, we get calls around the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve requesting sedation for sound-sensitive dogs
who are terrified of the sound of fireworks. Medicating the dogs is a great idea, but is only a temporary measure.
Acepromazine, the most commonly prescribed drug, is an agent that causes more paralysis than it alleviates
anxiety. Under the influence of acepromazine, your pet experiences the full terror of the sound experience with no
hope of escape, which is why most dogs become resistant to the drug over time. Alprazolam, a benzodiazepine
tranquilizer related to valium, has anti-anxiety activity and has been shown to be helpful in reducing sound
sensitivity on a short-term basis. Alprazolam is dosed with the first dose given approximately 1 hour before you
expect the noise to begin and re-dosed at four hour intervals.
The ideal plan is to work on the sound issue before the stressful event occurs. To do this, we recommend
purchasing Terry Ryan’s “Fireworks” CD via Dogwise.com. Full instructions for using the CD come with it.
Some of our clients find that after acclimating their dog to the CD, their pet no longer reacts strongly to the sound of
fireworks. Others find that playing the CD during fireworks reduces their pet’s anxiety to a minimum, with the dog
saying “Huh?” whenever a sound that is not on the track is heard, but no longer freaking out about it. In my
household, we watch “Master and Commander” from dusk until around midnight. The soundtrack has enough
explosions in it to mask the sound of local fireworks going off.
Terry Ryan also has a CD for thunderstorms.
|This client information is written by Dr. Brenda Mills, DVM