Keeping pets calm when fireworks start - - Columbia, South Carolina

Keeping pets calm when fireworks start

Source: KCBD Photo Source: KCBD Photo

Everybody loves to watch fireworks light up the night sky, but this holiday tradition can be a nightmare for pets.

Robert Taylor, veterinarian at 82nd St Veterinarian Clinic, says this type of behavior is very common with pets this time of year.

"It's a sudden loud noise that they don't understand and it sounds threatening," Taylor said. "It scares some dogs pretty bad."

It's called Sound Phobia and all pets can get it. It's the nervousness cats or dogs exhibit when they hear loud noises.

"The louder and closer it is, the more radical reaction you're liable to get," he said. "You may see them shaking nervously and sometimes, if it's bad enough, they'll start salivating, trying to escape. They may climb the fence, or do real strange things that they won't normally do."

If your pet does get frightened during fireworks, try and distract them from the sound and light.

"Bring them inside, talk to them, pet them, give them treats, distract them from the light from the fireworks displays and the noise," he said.

Even an old t-shirt can help your pet deal with the fear.

"Probably hug them and wrap them in a tight blanket or a tight t-shirt," Steven Green with Lubbock Animal Services said. "Anything that gives them comfort and support, because I think it's just a comfort issue. Pets like to be pet and the shirt offers comfort."

If all else fails, bring your pet to the vet to hear your options for medication.

"You can go to a vet to get some medication to help calm them down," Green said. "You need to do that prior to the holiday to do a test dose and make sure it is right for your pet."

Doctor Robert Taylor says to never punish a pet for barking or acting skittish over the noise of fireworks. He says that will just make things worse. Instead, he says, try to be as comforting as you can - just like we would be with a child.

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