Friday, July 8, 2016

4th of July Recap! Hiking, Swimming and Drugs! Oh My!

So we haven't been blogging very much but the 4th of July is not a fun time for us. I really needed to take a break and focus on my dogs. Since it's mostly over, I figured I'd do an update post for everyone!

So to recap this: Two weeks prior to the holiday, I made an appointment for Zoe to see the vet so we could talk to him about "sedation" for the girls. Both of my dogs are now noise phobic and after last year being so miserable, I didn't want the dogs to go through that again. They were so scared and none of the holistic things we've ever tried have helped. Zoe was so traumatized last year that she didn't want to eat for a few days after the 4th. I had to hand feed her every single meal and really encourage her. No dog should have to be that scared. It totally sucked.

So I went into the vet thinking I just wanted sedatives (valium) but he suggested using an anti-anxiety medication and recommended that we get trazadone. So that's what we went with and I asked for at least a week's worth because my neighbors pretty much light stuff off for the whole week.

Let me tell you how glad I am that I got my dogs medication. Words cannot even describe the amount of relief my dogs experienced just taking these tiny pills. They were magical. The pills did not sedate them at all. They just felt better. Neither of my dogs experienced any side effects, they were their same selves. The medication prevented them from freaking out, prevented the horrible anxiety attacks that they suffered from last year and it was just the best thing I've ever done for my dogs. I totally regret not getting medication for them sooner. It was a game changer. I will always sing the praises of chemical intervention from now on. Get medication for your dogs sooner rather than later and don't make the same mistake I made by trying a ton of holistic things that don't touch true anxiety and fear.

On the morning of the 4th we gave the dogs their first dose of trazadone and then went hiking with my friend, Suzanne and her gorgeous new Belgian Malinois, Stuck. You can find out more about Stuck by visiting her blog: Stuck On You!

Thousand Acres was insanely crowded because of the holiday weekend but we definitely needed to get out! I am really glad that I know the park so well and we were able to avoid the more crowded areas. We even managed to secure a small area of the beach to play on without too much trouble from other people and dogs.

Working dogs, fetching! :D Phee is in the upper right corner.

We had a fantastic time with Suzanne and Stuck! Stuck was such an awesome girl! She completely ignored Zoe and Phoenix for the most part and everyone got along great. We had zero issues with them running around off leash together. I think the girls had a really fun time showing off "their" park to their new friend! I'm really hoping they are able to make it out again soon.

Here's a short video of Phoenix fetching and swimming!

That evening we gave the dogs their second dose of trazadone about an hour before it got dark and they got their last walks of the day. When the fireworks started going off, they weren't happy and Zoe needed her trazadone bumped up but neither of them had a major meltdown. Both were able to take food, which is how I measure their stress levels. If they won't eat they are very stressed. This year with the medication on board they could eat. Phoenix wanted to hide in her crate and Zoe wanted to mostly hang out with my husband. Last year, Zoe would not leave the bathroom and even tried to get behind the toilet because she was so freaked out. That did not happen this year. She hung out with my husband the whole time and even wagged her tail a few times when he would talk to her.

They got their special treat of whip cream straight from the can for the entire hour of the fireworks shows. Then we switched to regular treats. After the initial big booms were over, they both actually fell asleep. Falling asleep is HUGE. Neither of my dogs have ever been able to sleep through 4th of July fireworks. Even better, Zoe is still eating her regular dog food like nothing happened. The only real problem we are having now is that Phoenix is afraid to go outside at night but we had that happen last year and I'm sure she'll be okay in a week or two.

So for the most part we had a really good holiday. I am so glad that my friend was able to come and visit us! I'm also really happy that I took the time to get my dogs medication so they could feel better. If your dogs get freaked out for the 4th of July or thunder, I highly recommend talking to your vet about medication. It was the best thing I've done for my dogs. The results I got were completely shocking and the difference in them was crazy. They were so relaxed and we didn't have any meltdowns or side effects. I will never go through another firework holiday without getting meds for them. 

How was your 4th of July?


  1. I am so glad the drugs worked so well for your girls. We have found that putting Hailey in the closet with the door closed, helps her. Our issue is that there are fireworks almost every night so she has to be on a more permanent drug.

    1. I don't think there's anything wrong with being on a permanent drug. We are actually considering long term anxiety meds for Zoe. I know quite a few people who's dogs will always be on some sort of medication and they are doing really well.

  2. My mom hates it too. People light them off all night long keeping her awake. So ridiculous. I enjoy sitting in the yard looking at them, while Bailie hides in the bathroom upstairs as she is scared of them all of the sudden. We are glad it is over so we can all sleep all night again.

  3. I'm so glad that the girls had a better year this year! It looks like they had a great time making a new friend, too. Stuck is gorgeous!

  4. Sounds like the medication really made a difference. Excellent. I was wondering how well it worked and now I know.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

  5. Thanks for the report. We hadn't heard of trazadone, so appreciate the information.

    This year (as usual) we just left town for a US Forest Service campground where fireworks were banned, and for a change the neighborhood did NOT blow up fireworks for the week before and after (though neighbors report that the 3rd and 4th were awfully noisy). So we were able to avoid meds this year (we've used alprazolam in the past with mixed results). But I'm right with you - we include drugs in our "toolkit", and use them when nothing else works. We'll talk with our vet to see if trazadone would be appropriate for our two.

    So glad this holiday went well for you all, and your outing with Stuck looks like it was fun, fun, fun!

  6. I'm so happy for you that you found something to help the girls, and you were able to have a more pleasant holiday!

  7. We are glad the medication helped but wish the boomers were NOT done at all!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  8. Okay, that settles it: I'm getting Pike meds for New Years (which, for some reason, is much louder than the 4th here). He did *okay*, and mostly just cowered in his crate with his blanket and the TV on, but he's still jittery and anxious and would not relax during the days before, during and after.
    It was nice to have Nola's stoicism to balance him out; I think she helped calm him a bit.

  9. Crikey .... how good was that??? Well done for trying the drugs. When all else fails it's the way to go, aye?? AND well done Zoe and Phee!!

  10. Hurray! That sounds like a Really Big Change For The Better! We are so glad this worked for you! (We are also glad you got whipped cream!)



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