Firework Safety

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It’s firework season! Between the 4th of July, fairs and festivals, and maybe just some rowdy neighbors, there are sure to be plenty of loud and bright displays in the coming weeks and months. Unfortunately, while fireworks may be fun for us, our canine companions may not always agree. Fear of noise is a fairly common occurrence in dogs (nearly 40-50 %!). Luckily, VCH has some helpful hints about how to keep your pup happy and safe through the holiday!

Behavioral/Environmental Modifications:

• Prepare your pet in advance by using recorded sounds, while positively reinforcing the experience with treats (but only when the dog is calm!). This will help desensitize them to the loud noises
• Sound/sight proofing, if tolerated
o Ear covers, eye covers, crate covers, using white noise, closing curtains and blinds, keeping lights on
• Thundershirt:
o Wrap that puts a light pressure on the dogs torso (think of swaddling a baby)
o Reduces anxiety and promotes relaxation
o Studies reported that dogs who wore the Thundershirt and were not taking any anxiety medications experienced less heart rate increases during noise testing
o Available for purchase from VCH! 
• Make sure your pet has a “safe” place to go (somewhere the animal feels protected, may or may not be a crate depending on the animal)
• Distract the dog with a bone or toy
• Avoid fireworks if at all possible

Natural Solutions:
• Some studies support the use of pheromone therapy- it’s been used for anxiety associated with car rides, veterinary visits, separation anxiety, storm and fireworks aversions, and to reduce stress.1
o Adaptil™: available as a spray, diffuser, or collar.
• A calming or anxiety-reducing effect has been reported for:
o Zylkene ®, a milk protein hydrolysate
o Harmonease ®, containing Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense
o L-theanine (Anxitane ®) and Sin-Susto™ (a Souroubea plant blend)
o Aromatherapy with lavender.
o Foods such as Royal Canin Calm ® may also aid in reducing stress and anxiety

Drug Therapy:
*note: dogs should not be started on these medications without first consulting a veterinarian to ensure their safety and appropriate dose*

• Benzodiazepine in combination with an antidepressant given one hour before the event
o Ex: alprazolam + fluoxetine or diazepam + sertraline, etc.
• Other drugs that may be utilized include: clonidine, trazodone, or propranolol in combination with an SSRI such as fluoxetine or paroxetine
• Sileo (dexmedetomidine) oral gel4
o FDA approved for noise aversion in dogs in November 2015
o gel that is rubbed into the gums of the animal
o “Calms without sedating”5
o Still a very new product, so your veterinarian may select a more studied drug first.
• Melatonin

Miscellaneous Tips and Tricks:

• Make sure your pets are micro chipped and/or wearing tags in case they escape while you’re out of the house during storms or fireworks
• Anecdotal reports of rubbing dryer sheets over the fur of the dogs
o Reduces static electricity from the air (may be more useful when it’s storming)
• For new dog owners: there is some research that exposing your puppy to loud and/or strange noises before 6 months of age may help protect against a fear/anxiety response

1. Landsberg GM and Denenberg S. Behavioral problems of dogs. Merck Veterinary Manual. 2014. Available from: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/behavior/normal_social_behavior_and_behavioral_problems_of_domestic_animals/behavioral_problems_of_dogs.html
2. King, C., Buffington, L., Smith, T.J., Grandin, T., The effect of a pressure wrap (ThunderShirt®) on heart rate and behavior in canines diagnosed with anxiety disorder, Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2014)
3. Plumb, Donald C. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook. 8 th ed. Stockholm, WI: PharmaVet Inc.; 2015
4. SILEO (Zoetis Inc). Compendium of Veterinary Products. [Revised 2016 April; Updated 2016 June]. Available from: https://bayerall.naccvp.com/product/view/3690520
5. Zoetis announces launch of SILEO ® for treatment of noise aversion in dogs. Businesswire.com. May 16, 2016. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160516005875/en/Zoetis-Announces-Launch-SILEO%C2%AE- Treatment-Noise- Aversion
6. Landsberg G, Hunthausen W, and Ackerman L. Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat. 3rd ed. Elsevier, 2013. Print.

Blog Post #2: Neutering Male Dogs without Surgery
February 2014 marked the return of a drug product that allows for neutering of male dogs by injection into the testicles- no surgery needed! Zeuterin is a mixture of zinc gluconate and L-arginine in water. The solution is then injected into each testicle….and that’s it! Sounds too good to be true, right? The Veterinary Center of Hudson is here to help you take a closer look.
Zeuterin is approved for use in dogs ages 3-10 months old (most veterinarians recommend neutering at 6 months of age, as a general rule of thumb). Veterinarians must undergo special training to be certified to administer this drug to ensure that it is done properly and with minimal side effects. Some of these side effects, which are mild, included pain around the scrotum (injection site), irritation, swelling, bruising, vomiting, tiredness, and diarrhea.
How does Zeuterin work? The active ingredient, zinc gluconate, prevents the movement of sperm from the seminiferous tubules to the epididymis, effectively preventing the male dog from getting a female pregnant. This is a permanent procedure, and should not be used in dogs to be used for breeding.
Other things you need to know about Zeuterin:
• Zeuterin does not kill sperm that are present when the procedure is performed, so owners should keep their male away from females in heat for at least 60 days after injection.
• Testosterone is not completely eliminated during this procedure, meaning certain diseases may not be prevented, such as prostate disease or testicular tumors. Additionally, it may not eliminate behaviors such as marking or mounting
• Some dogs are not good candidates for this procedure- talk to one of the veterinarians here at VCH for more information!
• Requires NO anesthesia, which is safer for dogs, and also saves owners money!
So, what does all this mean for you, the clients?
Currently, VCH does not offer this service. The techniques being used at this time, i.e. surgery, are tried and true methods of neutering males, and most all animals have a speedy recovery with no ill effects. Another factor to consider is that this technique can not be used in females. Zeuterin does offer some attractive benefits in that it is less expensive than surgical methods, and does not require anesthesia to administer. Perhaps one day in the future we will begin offering these procedures, but only after we ensure the safety of this product in your pet! If you have any questions about Zeuterin or neutering in general, do not hesitate to contact us here at the Veterinary Center of Hudson!

1. Plumb, Donald C. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook. 8 th ed. Stockholm, WI: PharmaVet Inc.; 2015
2. Researchers explore alternatives to surgical neutering. NewStat, blog by American Animal Hospital Association. 2015 Feb 4. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.aaha.org/blog/NewStat/post/2015/02/04/150748/Researchers-explore-alternatives-to-surgical-neutering.aspx
3. Quenqua D. New strides in spaying and neutering. The New York Times. 2013 Dec 2. [Internet]. Available from: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/02/new-strides-in-spaying-and-neutering/