Capone and Tiva are Italian Mastiffs, each weighing over 100 pounds. They are normally mellow dogs and very friendly. But their owner Beau Hayden tells me it’s a much different story when the fireworks go off.
“(The fireworks} rattle the house. There are some big ones–Disneyland type fireworks that really shake the house like it’s Iraq. There’s some really big ones,” explained Hayden.
The noise sets the dogs off.
“Tiva, she gets really scared and she jumps in your lap and presses up against you,” said Hayden.
But Capone’s reaction is even more severe. Hayden said he had to practically jump on top of Capone to keep him from bolting the first time he heard fireworks.
“(Capone) was barking and my girlfriend and I were just holding him. My other friend was putting his hands over (Capone’s) eyes. He was freaking out,” Hayden said.
“I love fireworks personally. I grew up in Hawaii so it’s been a tradition ever since I was a kid, but having animals… if you love them and you see them stressed out, it stresses you out.”
So, what can be done to help calm their anxiety?
Candice Denham from the Kailua Animal Clinic said there are steps you can take to help.
“We usually recommend bringing outdoor pets inside to a quiet area in a small room where there’s less noise.”
She said that playing music or even crating the animal can help drown out some of the noise.
“In extreme circumstances where a patient might harm themselves, we do recommend using some medication” explained Denham.
But she said there are other options.
“There are some natural alternatives that you can consider before using medication to come to patients. There are thunder shirts or herbal supplements. Those are things that can be discussed with your vet early on,” Denham said.
Another alternative is the Adaptil calming collar. It can be purchased on Amazon or at Petsmart.
“The Adaptil collar is a collar that your pet can wear for 30 days. What it does is it releases a pheromone that helps to calm the patient,” Denham explained.
The nervous behavior isn’t the only concern.
“It becomes a problem when there’s (animals) at risk of overheating or escaping. So usually the dogs with a shorter noses, they can become stressed and that can lead to other problems. Dogs that spend a lot of time outside can jump over the fence,” said Denham.
That is why it’s very important to microchip your dog.
“That way if there is an escape you could be contacted.”
Social media is filled with reports of missing dogs lately.
But dogs aren’t the only animals frightened by the loud fireworks.
Denham said some cats may also be freaked out by the noise.
If you do lose your pet, contact the Hawaiian Humane Society. Community pages and social media can also be helpful resources.