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How to relieve your pet's anxiety

Dr. Jim Dobies has tips to help your pets relax

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dr. Dobies says as pet parents, the first thing you should do to help your pet is remain calm. Try not to alter your behavior in response to your dog's fear & anxiety. Second, find a safe, quiet space in your home for your dog to relax. A room without windows or with the shades drawn. Dim lighting and music or white noise can help. Provide a comfortable bed or crate that serves as a safe place. Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP) and a Thundershirt can help, along with herbal supplements like Rescue Remedy. The pet parent should grab a book and maybe a glass of wine and sit quietly with the pet but try not to be any more attentive than you would be normally.

As far as remedies, Dr. Dobies says it's best to talk to your vet about medications that can be helpful. Short-term medications called anxiolytics can be administered 30 minutes before a storm or fireworks. These drugs last 2 to 4 hours and have a calming effect. Common side effects are drowsiness. For more serious problems, long-term medications can be administered every day. These drugs are often in the anti-depressant class of medications and take longer to have an effect, maybe 4 to 6 weeks before you see a significant reduction in anxiety.

You can find Dr. Dobies at urgentvet.com