Many of us are making plans to celebrate Independence Day with family and friends. Many of those plans will include at some point or another, oohing and awing over fireworks. While entertaining to us humans, fireworks can be a traumatic surprise for our pets.
The following is transcribed from an AVMA Animal Tracks Podcast interview with Dr. Bonnie Beaver, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Q: Dr. Beaver, welcome. What is the best way to calm my dog or cat if she appears stressed from the fireworks exploding outside?
A: There are a number ways to address it, but first of all it is important to keep the pet inside the house, and as far away from the source as possible. You could also have background noise playing, such as the radio or television, in the area where that animal is. If you already know that the animal is sensitive to fireworks, having your veterinarian prescribe appropriate medications can also help decrease the amount of stress they have.
Q: Where should you place or send your pets if you’re doing your own personal fireworks show in the backyard?
A: It is best to keep the animals far away from the fireworks. Many don’t have a fear of the noise initially, but when they are around loud, unpredictable sounds such as fireworks they can develop a fear of over time.
Q: Is it really a good idea to take pets to a big firework show?
A: While we can appreciate the beauty of fireworks, our pets’ vision and their sense of hearing is very different than our own. They cannot plug their own ears and they don’t really see the color combinations and the visual effects that we do in fireworks. So, it is best to leave the animal at home in an area where the noise won’t bother it.
Q: Finally doctor, what are some general safety tips for pets for the 4th of July?
A: There are a couple of things to consider besides fireworks on the 4th of July. One is the weather, it is usually very hot, so it is important to keep the animal in a cool location and make sure that they have plenty of fresh, clean water for drinking because that’s what they use to regulate body temperature. It’s also important to remember that there may be a lot of people around that the dog or cat is not used to having nearby and that can be very stressful to the animal. So if there is a lot of company around, sometimes it’s actually less stressful to keep the animal away from all the visitors.
To hear the interview, go to http://www.avmamedia.org/display.asp?sid=66&NAME=Fourth_of_July_Pet_Safety_Tips. For more tips on keeping your pets happy, healthy and safe visit the AVMA’s website at www.avma.org.