Fear of Fireworks


I love the Fourth of July! Don’t you? I must admit I have a particular fondness for fireworks. I love the flashing lights, shower of sparks, whizzing whistles…even the burning chemical odor! Sadly, this thrill of mine is torture for my animal friends; the Fourth of July is truly the most terrifying and dangerous day of the year for animals and pets. The day AFTER the Fourth of July is also the busiest day of the year for animal shelters packed full of pets that have fled their homes in a blind panic. Please, please think of your pets and your neighbors’ pets before lighting that fuse.

Here are a few suggestions:

Keep your pets inside as much as you can for the Fourth and surrounding days! I cannot stress this enough. It may seem obvious, but many people think their pets are having fun at the barbecue. Dogs especially need to feel safe in a quiet dark place. If you don’t have a basement put them in a bathroom. Turn on a radio or a fan for white noise if you can’t hide them from the noise outside. Do not think your pet will be safe in a fenced yard on the Fourth. Many pets become so frightened that they ram right though the fence seriously injuring themselves or jump the fence and become lost or hit by a car.

Let your behavior guide your dogs. What I mean by this is fear is contagious and if you speak to your dog in a pitying voice this may intensify his fear. Act happy and confident, and reward your dog if he acts calm too.

Medication. As a last resort, ask one of our veterinarians to prescribe a sedative or an anxiety medication to take the edge off. We also have many supplements and calming pheromone products to aid in relaxation.

“Thunder Shirts” can also be very effective for decreasing anxiety in dogs. The gentle squeeze is very comforting and reassuring to dogs.

A few last words of advice: Alcohol is never safe for a pet – not even beer, so please do not share.

Barbecue meat is too rich for pets and often lands them in my office the next day with a tummy ache or vomiting and diarrhea.

Corn on the cob – Please do not give the cobs to pets. Toss the corncob in a bag and get it in a safe trashcan away from your dog. We often need to resort to surgery to remove a cob from a dog’s intestinal tract. Not fun.

Please have a fun and SAFE holiday! Give us a call with any questions, we're here to help.