Anxiety Relief For Fireworks
Fireworks can be a real hard situation for dogs. The loud noises are confusing and scary since dogs obviously don't understand what is going on. We can't stop people from shooting off fireworks but we can help support how their minds and bodies respond to them.
To start off, let's think about when you are having anxiety, a panic attack or are in a scary situation. Your body goes into fight or flight. It's a natural response to help keep up safe.
When fireworks are going off, your dog believes it is in danger and doesn't understand that they are indeed, safe.
So how do we help them relax?
One of my favorite categories of herbs, NERVINES!
Nervines are a group of herbs that work on the nervous system. They help the nervous system calm down, relax and regulate. Think about if you're already on edge and someone slams a door behind you, you'll have a greater chance to "jump" at the noise. If your nervous system wasn't already on edge, then you might not even notice the unexpected noise. Nervines work in a way where it helps your dog not be on edge, so the unexpected, scary noises don't cause such a big reaction.
Now, what are some herbal nervines that we can use for our dogs?
- Kava Kava
- Bach Rescue - popular flower essence
How do I use these herbs to help my dog relax?
Buy or make your own extracts - An extract is a concentrated form of a plant. The medicinal properties of a plant can be extracted into a different medium like glycerin or alcohol. This liquid is then used instead of the actual plant material. Alcohol and glycerin can be used for dogs, especially when drop dosing but when using a larger amount for acute situations, like fireworks, glycerin is recommended. When an extract is placed directly in your dogs mouth, they will feel the effects faster because its absorbed directly into their blood stream as compared to having to digest the medicine.
Make a frozen tea bite - Make tea out of the desired herbs and freeze in ice cube trays. To make these more desirable, especially if your dog is picky, add some bone broth to the tea and freeze. This is a simple way for your dog to get the medicine in tea form but without having to make your dog "drink" tea. This will also be a quicker way for your dog to feel the effects since the ice will melt and the tea can be quickly absorbed into the body. Check out this blog post HERE to see a similar recipe. This one uses different herbs for allergies but you can switch out the nettle leaf for any herbal nervines.
Calming biscuits - Dog biscuits are easy and effective ways to help your dogs anxiety and fear. Biscuits are simple to feed but can take up for 40 minutes for your dog to feel the effects. When herbs are given this way, their digestive systems have to digest and process the plant material like any other food. Giving these treats an hour or so prior to fireworks will give you best results.
Along with herbal nervines to help your dogs nervous system, also place your dog in its safe space. This can be it's crate, its bed, your bed, your lap, their stuffed animal or whatever unique comforts your dog loves. By making them feel safe, loved, like you have their back while simultaneously calming their nervous system with herbal nervines, your dog should have an easier time handling the loud noises all around.
These herbal preparations are great to keep in your first aid kit. They can also be used for other situations like thunder and lightening and other stressful social situations. First aid doesn't just mean cuts and wounds, it also means being prepared to take care of your dogs mental health.