Even patriotic pets can be frightened
by fireworks... take precautions

July 05, 2014
Santa Paula News

You might be one of the 80 percent that own a pet afraid of fireworks so youíll want to make sure they stay calm and comforted through Fridayís Santa Paula Rotary Fireworks Spectacular.

The ear-splitting explosions and flashing bright lights of fireworks might thrill humans, but they can terrify dogs and cats. Every year in the days following Independence Day, shelters are filled with pets that panic at the patriotic commotion and run away in blind terror. Often they find themselves so far from home they canít find their way back.

If you can, keep your pets indoors during the celebratory commotion and remember you still must prepare them for the fireworks.

Prolonged professional displays such as Fridayís have the most impact on pets, and dogs - with their keen sense of hearing - are the most susceptible to panic. In the frenzy caused by fireworks dogs can injure themselves and damage property.

A good rule of thumb to gauge your petís reaction to fireworks is how the animal handles thunder... if the dog is afraid of thunder they are likely to also have a bad reaction to fireworks.

Some dog owners must use mild tranquilizers but others find familiar sounds, playing loud music or turning up the television to mask the noise, helps... but not too loud as that can also rattle the dogís nerves!

All pets should be put indoors in a secure room well before dark on the day of the festivities, and reassured they are safe well before fireworks begin.

The house becomes your petsí safety zone, so itís important to prepare it properly: make sure to keep some lights on which will calm your pet and make it feel more secure.

Dampen the noise with music or TV - a recording of rainwater soothes animals - and close the curtains in the room, but keep lights on.

Make the room cozy with familiar bedding; chew and other toys will help keep your pets amused and distracted. †

Use a lavender scented spray to help calm your pet... do not use heated oils, incense or candles that can be knocked over by a frantic dog even if placed out of reach. Make sure there are no sharp items in the room.

Keep an eye on your pet, or better yet, stay with your animal to offer comfort and conversation.

Donít fuss over your pet too much as this can increase anxiety if the pet senses yours. And donít go overboard... your clever pet might be encouraged to exhibit fearful behavior in the future for extra loving on demand.

If you canít stay home with your pet because youíre going to Harding Park to see the Fireworks Spectacular or are busy with your own or othersí barbecues donít worry: youíve ensured your pet has been adequately cared for.

And remember: itís always a great idea to make sure your petsí ID tags and microchips are up to date.†

If you do lose your pet keep checking with SPARC (Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center) and the Ventura County Animal Shelter.

SPARC does a great job of posting photos on Facebook of lost animals but both organizations would like nothing better than to have the petís identity readily available so they can let you know the whereabouts of your pet.†

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