Monday, June 30, 2014

Fireworks and your Pet

Is your pet's i.d. tag up to date?
Fireworks can be a nightmare for people and especially for your pets! The surprising appearance of a sound and the explosion of fireworks can evoke a myriad of responses from just a bit of confusion to absolute and utter panic and escape attempts. Temperatures can be too hot for dogs even in the shade. Hot asphalt can burn sensitive pads.

The typical signs of anxiety and stress may include whining, heavy panting, drooling, hiding in small spaces and/or pacing. Other signs of anxiety and sress may include shaking, seeking your attention and accidents (urinate or deficate) in the house. Many pets will simply run away to try to escape.

It is best for your pets to be inside during fireworks displays as they may try to run away if you have them outdoors during these events. If you have a doggy door, it's best to have it locked  so your dog doesn't escape and possibly run away.

When possible it's best to simply avoid fireworks displays by going to the basement of your home or getting in the car and driving away until the display is over. If your dog is fearful even inside your home, there are some options to help calm your dog. Vets offer short-acting anti-anxiety medications, calming wraps or jackets like the Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap, and DAP collars and sprays. Flower essences like Rescue Remedy or Distress Remedy and homeopathic options like Calms Forte are often great options. Turning on a fan and playing classical music will help.

The ideal way to condition a dog to accept fireworks would be to start with a recording - quiet fireworks and reward him/her as the sounds are happening. It's a good time to pull out treat dispensing toys and puzzle toys. Have a Fireworks Party! At our house, anytime it storms or when it is "fireworks season", we get the toys out, we play nice classical music and have a party. My dogs now equate "boom boom" with "fun fun"!

Don't forget to make sure that all of your pets are wearing a collar with i.d. that has your current information.

For additional tips on 4th of July safety, click here

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