This column is the opinion of a 3 year old African Grey Parrot named “Simba” who has an extremely high intelligence level. While he does not possess a degree from any college or university, he does have a strong opinion of himself and feels that he is the best candidate to answer the complex questions of today’s discerning pets…and the humans they own…
Independence Day is just around the corner and the celebrations are being planned around the Island for this year’s fireworks on the beach as well as other family gatherings. While we all enjoy our pets being part of holiday celebrations, I just don’t see the point of including pets in Fourth of July celebrations. With the loud fireworks and lights flashing, most pets get scared and stressed out. This is something I have dealt with the last 8 years with my canine companion “Rusty.”
Rusty is a Border Collie/Pit bull mix so he’s not small but he wedges himself every year behind the toilet in the guest bathroom as if he was a Chihuahua. I feel so bad for him as I have tried everything on the market to sooth his anxiety from this holiday including “doggie anxiety medication” from the vet and nothing has worked. I even stayed home with him and that didn’t work. I need help this year because there is a huge party a few houses down the street and I just know he’s going to freak out! Is there anything that I can do that I have not already done?
Signed, Independence Day Blues
What a brilliant question!! Independence Day is so stressful for us animal companions…try being a bird on this day with loud crashing noises and flashing lights! At least “Rusty” has the toilet to hide behind! If you’ve tried everything on the market then it’s time to try EVERYTHING on the market. You can’t just do one thing. It’s got to be a combination of things to combat all aspects of stress. This goes for any pet whether dog, cat, bird (Ahem!), lizard, fish, etc.
A dog’s sense of hearing is highly developed. While a human can hear sounds from a hundred yards away, a dog can hear sounds from over 440 yards (402 meters) away. Moreover, dogs and cats are capable of hearing ultrasonic sounds—sounds that are beyond the range audible to humans. The maximum frequency of sound that humans can perceive is approximately 20,000 cycles, or 20 kilohertz, per second. It has been demonstrated that a dog can perceive at least 35,000 cycles, or 35 kilohertz, per second and a cat can even hear as high as 65,000 cycles, or 65 kilohertz, per second. So with that riveting tidbit of information you can imagine how shooting off fireworks can send a pet into a freaking out frenzy!!
I’m going to jump back a few months and revisit a column I wrote about Bach’s Rescue Remedy. Rescue Remedy is highly recommended by vets and sold in health food stores. A few drops directly in the drinking water or right on the tongue does the trick. It’s a calming liquid that is formulated specifically for pets. There’s a human formula as well. If you can’t find the pet formula this is fine to administer (please read dosage and consumption directions on the bottle).
Next, a favorite chew toy, bedding, and an article of clothing that you have worn are also great comforters. To have your scent around Rusty in times of despair is extremely calming. This would pertain to specifically dogs and cats as us birds would just use the article of clothing as a shredding toy. Also, a crate acts like a den to dogs. Putting these objects in his crate with him will give him a sense of security as well.
Last but not least, music!! I personally like the main theme song from ‘Indiana Jones” as I glorify in the fact that I can sing it from beginning to end at 6:00AM (although my human isn’t too fond of this when she tries to sleep in.) Music is a natural soother for all animals. Try some of that New Age vibe. I hear it does wonders. Just be smart about it and don’t play “Sounds of Thunderstorms”!! It sounds too much like fireworks!
Hope this helps Rusty in his fight against firework syndrome. If you need any other recommendations for Fourth of July or concerning any other species of pets do not hesitate to contact my Administrative Assistant at [email protected]
Until next time, Happy Fourth Of July, Marco Island! God Bless America!
Simba is owned by Christina Giordano. If you have any questions you would like Simba to answer, please email them to: [email protected]