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Pets 101

Independence Day No Blast For Pets

FireworksThe weeks before and after the Fourth of July can be very stressful for pets. The loud booms of fireworks often frighten even the most mild-mannered dogs and cats. And although we might enjoy the bright colors and big bangs, these unfamiliar and sudden noises can terrify your pet to the point that he or she harms household objects, others, or even himself or herself. Some pets lose their appetites, and others refuse to go outside. Other dogs left alone in the house or unattended outside have found ways to escape after being startled by the explosions. They might dig under or jump over a fence, putting themselves at risk of even more harm, as heavy traffic does not mix well with startled dogs.

Following are some tips for a happy and safe Independence Day for everyone in your family:

Do not bring your dog to the fireworks display, even if he or she has not previously shown fear of loud noises. The amount of people coupled with the high level of frenetic energy will make your pooch high-strung even before the fireworks begin.

Find a safe and quite place in the house (closed up to deaden most of the noise) to calm your pet without medication. Play soothing music or turn on the television to help muffle loud noises.

You may try wraps or shirts to provide a comforting pressure to your pet. However, these measures have not been proven entirely effective in reducing stress in all animals.

Visit the veterinarian if you are unsure of how to handle your pet during the holiday. Some veterinarians will prescribe a tranquilizer for use on that day. However, tranquilizers do not always work and may result in a still-terrified cat or dog who is simply too tired to show his or her fear. Some vets also recommend the Valerian Root supplement, which calms but does not drug your pet.

Remember to keep all tags on your pet, especially at this time of year.

For more information, visit HumaneSociety.org and ASCPA.org. —Brendan Quealy

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