Monday, June 27, 2016

Zoe's Vet Adventure! 4th of July Prep!

So last year after we had an absolutely miserable 4th of July, fireworks went off all night long and the dogs were terrified, I swore I would never let my dogs go through another 4th without medication to ease their anxiety. Zoe is extremely noise phobic and I'm pretty sure she thought the sky was falling and the world was ending. With the holiday rapidly approaching and fireworks tents going up all over the place, I knew I had to make an appointment for Zoe to see the vet. She needed go anyways because I was concerned about her back end. She had some weakness in her back legs after a road trip where her sister squashed her against the door of the car for hours on end and then playing on the beach for a few hours. On the way back into town, we made a pit stop and she had a hard time jumping back into the car. She's also been refusing to do her backstall trick.

Going to the vet is always a major ordeal for all of us. I've had some previous negative experiences and I get extremely anxious taking anyone in. I still tend to get really stressed out, even though I used to work at our current vet and know everyone there. Luckily this trip, my husband was available to drive us and help out.

I'm happy to report that her vet visit went really well. We brought her mat and her squeeze tube full of cream cheese. I didn't give her any time to worry about where she was, she just sat on her mat and licked cheese until it was time to see the doc. She was pretty nervous and a little scrambly when she was up on the table but overall she did really well. Our vet was really impressed with how her teeth looked, she's in great shape and she has full range of motion and good muscle in her back legs. He was not concerned about the weakness we saw and he thinks she probably just over did it or tweaked something. We've been taking it easy on the trick training since that beach trip and he thinks we can go back into training and that she's going to be fine. If she shows any signs of weakness again, we can always have x-rays done but at this point we decided not to do them.

So on the meds side of things, I went into the vet office thinking that I wanted to ask for diazepam (valium), I've had several friends who had good luck with it but I was open to suggestions. Our vet recommended trying trazadone which is what we walked out of there with.

A few days after the vet visit, my husband decided to go through a bunch of his stuff (we've moved a lot and when boxes come out it freaks her out), I was doing laundry (our washing machine makes horrible banging noises) and our neighbors were banging around, all of these things make Zoe anxious so it was the perfect time to try out the trazadone. With this specific medication, there's a range to the dosage she can have so I gave her the lowest dose possible. I was pretty happy with the results. The lowest dose did not sedate her but I could definitely see the difference in her. It was like she was wandering around going, "I think I'm supposed to be anxious about this but I'm not!"

For the 4th of July, I am going to have her on the meds for a few days prior to the holiday and a couple of days afterwards as well. On the day of the 4th she will be getting the maximum dose she's allowed to have. My neighbors are awful and last year the celebrations went on for the entire week. I'm really hoping to keep her stress level down.

I know that medication can be controversial but our dogs lives are too short for them to spend them constantly stressed out and if this medication can help her feel safe then I'm all for it.

Have you ever used medication with your dog for the 4th of July? What medication did you use and were you happy with it?


  1. My mom doesn't like to give us meds unless we have another choice as they only mask the pain. Have you thought of a chiropractor? Usually they are around $40 which is the same or less than a vet visit and they actually fix the problem. Bailie and I have both injured ourselves and ended up limping or having pain, but the chiro fixed us up in no time flat. That's my two cents, for you to add to your arsenal of what to do when a dog is injured.

    1. Hi Emma, the medication we got is for anxiety. Not pain. Zoe is extremely noise phobic to the point she will panic. While I do believe in chiropractic stuff, if she was in pain I would choose to use pain medication as well. Like I said, our dogs lives are too short for them to be anxious or hurting.

  2. We never gave Little Bit any medication. We contained her. She did fine and we stayed with her at all times. Medication is good if needed, but we never felt Little Bit needed the medication. Sounds like Zoe really needs the medication. Good for you to prepare.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  3. A doggies' worst howliday! We hope the meds help!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  4. Definitely let me know how it works for her! Pike isn't as noise phobic as Zoe, but the 4th of July (and New Years, and any other time our damn neighbors decide it's fireworks time...) is hard on him.

  5. Dude I love the cheese in a tube idea (not sure how I missed that if you've been using it for awhile) I'm going to have to try that since our vet visits can be pretty stressful as well.

    I haven't used trazadone, but I was pleased with how well valium worked for my dog Carter during fireworks years ago. I understand your last line about medication all too well; I've often felt the need to justify my use of medications for my dog. But after living with a dog with severe anxiety (and having it myself) I certainly understand that in certain situations being able to control those fears is the most humane option. If you haven't seen it yet check out Jessica's latest post at You Did What With Your Weiner (the "Rant" one), I think you'll probably relate to it as much as I did.

  6. We've used Xanax (alprazolam) with some success for noise-phobic Habi. (Glad to learn about trazadone and diazapam as alternatives). It works better for the 4th of July, which is predictable, than for thunderstorms; we have to give it a good half hour before she gets the 'quakes,' and she usually starts reacting long before we hear the storm. If we dose her before dusk on fireworks nights she does pretty well. Since our neighborhood loves fireworks so much, we're under barrage for a couple of weeks (first bangs started two nights ago!), so we now just leave town. I used to love the 4th....

  7. I'm glad the hind end issue is probably no big deal. And we've been sedating R for 10 weeks now (with trazedone). So, I have no issues with it at all. We've been doing it so that he doesn't get hyper and hurt his surgical elbow. We are now weaning him off of it, and I am discovering that training him is much harder without the traz on board. He has impulse control issues that disappeared with the traz. Now, we start every session with a Zen game :)

    I hope that your plan for Zoe works. I'm glad you tried out the traz ahead of time. Our vet told us that some dogs actually get more hyped up on it so testing it is important.


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