May 21 2017

Firework Safety

dog peeking from under the bed

Firework season is upon us. Who doesn’t want to spend a weather spring/summer evening outside watching beautiful colours of light dance across the sky? It’s a great time to spend with our loved ones.

But what about our pets? Do they enjoy that time?

As much as we want to bring out furry friend with us every where. Some times its best to leave them at home where they are safe.

The loud noise and strange lights can be upsetting and unsettling to our pets. This may cause stress or harm to yourself, your pet or others. They may not mean it. This is apart of the Fight or Flight response where your pet may react in one or two ways. One is to fight. They may bite or attack while scared. The second is Flight where they will run as far away as they can. This may result in your pet running through open doors or windows, running away from their homes or may dart into traffic.

This may not be the case for all dogs or cats, but it better safe than sorry.

Here are some tips on how to take care of your pet during this firework season.

Keep Pets Inside

This is probably the best spot for your pet if they are afraid of fireworks.

This is most likely their normal environment. Their home/den. Everything is familiar to them.

Being inside helps prevent animals from escaping and the house can help muffle the noise from the fireworks. Just remember to keep the doors and windows closed securely.

Some pets do well left in a separate room (spare bedroom or the basement) with the radio or the television on. This will also help cover up the sound of the fireworks. Make sure you leave lots of toys in the room so he has some entertainment and to make sure he/she doesn’t think they are being isolated as a punishment.

Identification

Make sure that your pet is wearing their identification. Collars with tags are the best thing to have that isn’t permanent. Their tags should contain their name, address, and your phone number. Make sure they are clear. Even better to have their Rabies and city tags with the id tags as well. Both these tags contain your information and they can also help you get your pet home safely.

Permanent identification would be Microchips or tattoos if you had gotten your pet from a breeder, though most breeders do not do tattoos any more as they can become indecipherable and a lot of people now in days don’t know how to read them. Microchips are always recommended as they all of your information and emergency contact information just in case your pet slips their collar or wasn’t wear their collar at the time of getting lost.

If your pet has any type of identification, always make sure it is up to date. This be a matter of your pet making it to you home safely or spending time in the humane society.

Don’t Console Your Anxious Pet

For humans it is normal to comfort and console when went we are afraid, upset or anxious. We try and use a happy cheerful voice to make someone feel better and to let them know everything will be okay.

Sadly this isn’t the case for our furry friends. Consoling them, hugging them and cuddling them while afraid will make things worse. In a dogs mind, you are actually teaching them that it is okay to be scared of whatever is bothering them. I know, it’s backwards, but it is the case.

Try to avoid saying things like “it’s okay” or “don’t be scared” in a soft sympathetic voice. Try instead to ignore the behaviour. I know this hard, but responding to the behaviour will reinforce it as well.

As suggested, the best thing to do is to keep your pet in a comfortable place away from the fireworks

Wear Them Out

Exercise is probably the best way to tire your pet out.

Before trying medications, try to see if you can tire your pet out before the fireworks start. They’d be so tired that they won’t even notice the fireworks going on. They’d just sleep right through them.

Nice long walk or hike. Playing catch for a while. You could even try some mental simulation. Like teach your pet a new trick. Just make sure your pet is well hydrated.

Medications

Last but not least is medications.

Sometimes a pet’s anxiety is too much to handle just on keeping somewhere quiet or by tiring out. Some times your veterinarian may have to prescribe a medication that helps relaxes your pet.

There are defusers that help with anxiety. One is call Adaptil and it is used for dogs. The other is Feliway and it is used for cats. These medications are pheromones that comfort and reassure your pet. They are clinically proven to help reduce stress.

If you have any questions about way to help control your pet’s anxiety, please do not hesitate to call your Veterinarian.

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