Pet Panic Attacks
Fear can strike a pet for many reasons, though usually it boils down to something strange occuring in the environment. Common ones are fireworks, construction outside the home, thunder storms, visitors, moving, and near us, the Air Show when the Blue Angels buzz our house with sonic booms. I am sure you can think of other times and causes as well.
So what to do in these situations? Firstly, do what you can to provide a safe space that is familiar and quiet as best possible. Spend time with the pet during these times soothing them and staying calm yourself if you can be there. Even while moving, try to leave one room for the pet that is undisturbed until the very last or find the pet someone to "baby sit" that they know such as a relative, friend, or neighbor you trust and they trust as well.
For loud noises, you can put on something to help cover up the noise that the pet likes and is used to hearing, such as a fan or some music. Many animals find Classical music soothing. In fact, studies have shown milk production in cattle goes up when Classical is played (and down when heavy rock is played) as a side note of interest.
There is some evidence of calming effects of aromatherapy, such as with lavender, though some pets are sensitive to such fragrances.
There are simple techniques you can learn to do to sooth your pet as well. I used these on mine during and after the 1994 serious earthquake in Los Angeles to great effect. They are called "assists" which means to help and a great one is the "nerve assist". You can read about how to do it here: Nerve Assist and you can even do a free course here: Assists Course
There are herbal formulas that can be used for sedation if something like that is really needed. Many contain L-tryptophan, kava kava, valerian root and others. We carry a formula both in capsule form for bigger animals and liquid for cats and small dogs. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before starting anything like this to make sure there are no medical contraindications for it. If interested, here is the data on our product: Pet Vitamin Supplements and Nutri Calm for Pets.
In even more dramatic cases your veterinarian can prescribe a sedative such as acepromazine or valium. I would HIGHLY warn you against any of the psychotropic drugs though (such as Prozac, Elavil, Clomicalm etc...) as they have SERIOUS and DANGEROUS side effects-even seizures in 1% of patients! If you don't know what a drug is, ask your veterinarian and/or check it out with Google or any other source before administering it to your pet.
Here's hoping you and your pets always have calm days and nights, but if something comes up, I hope this article helps.
Until next time,
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