What pet owners can do to keep their pets calm during fireworks season

While the 4th of July holiday is a time to celebrate with friends, family and fireworks, not everyone is fond of the loud noises that come with the colorful booms… especially pets. Thomas F. Dock, Veterinary Journalist and Practice Manager, Noah’s Animal Hospitals, shares some ways to keep pets calm during firework season.

  1. Across the country, rescue groups and animal shelters are preparing for their busiest day of the year. July 5th historically is a very hectic day for animal shelters as they deal with lost animals who may have ended up in the shelter due to fireworks.
  1. It’s not unusual to see pets that are extremely scared of the sounds of fireworks. These pets will also often exhibit nervous behavior during thunderstorms.  Left unattended, many of these pets can destroy a room or even injure themselves.
  1. Sadly, many owners are unaware of just how frightened their dog is at this time of year. Seeing pets at public fireworks displays is very common and this could lead to all manner of problems.
  1. The loud booms and pops can overwhelm our dogs’ sensitive hearing. This could lead to panic behavior in which the pet tries to get away from the noise.
  1. If the pet is unable to get away, destructive behavior or even fear aggression can occur. In public areas, your normally well-behaved pet might lash out and bite someone.  At home, trapped in a room, your dog could start tearing up pillows, chewing the wall or destroying other items.

  1. Outside, dogs might try to jump the fence or dig under it. This might lead to puncture wounds on the abdomen or scrapes across the back or legs.
  1. Historically, many pet owners have turned to sedative medications, such as AcePromazine or even Alprazolam (Xanax) to keep their pets calm. Sadly, these drugs are much less effective if the pet is already on edge and many people disliked the extreme grogginess that accompanied using the medication.
  1. In the past 2 years, a new medication has come onto the market and has received fantastic reviews. An oral gel, this drug is easy to apply and works even when the pet is already agitated, bringing him or her back to a much calmer state.
  1. This is a good time of year to ensure that your pet is properly identified, just in case an escape happens. Microchips are the ideal way of providing a permanent id that can’t ever be lost.  BUT, it’s important to make sure your current address and contact information is available in the manufacturer’s database.
  1. As a backup id, consider a collar or harness with your contact information or even your veterinarian’s phone number.
  1. During the neighborhood festivities, consider keeping your pet in a secure, interior room, with a radio or TV playing to help minimize the noise. In most cases, taking your pet to an outdoor fireworks display is NOT a good idea.   Have your own special celebration (minus the fireworks) in your yard with them at another time!

To learn more, visit www.noahshospitals.com.