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Tips to protect your pets during Fourth of July fireworks

With Independence Day coming up, there are a few things you can do to help your dog through the loud bangs that come with traditional firework festivities.
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Posted at 11:47 AM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 20:15:44-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Pets and fireworks aren't always a great mix and the Rockport-Fulton Humane Society is staying with their pets overnight this year so they don't get spooked.

“Because fireworks are fun for people, it can definitely be a nightmare for pets," Autumn Vasey, the shelter's manager and veterinary nurse said.

Some dogs, cats, and other pets don't seem to care about the fireworks, but many feel threatened by them.

"The noise and unpredictability of fireworks leads many dogs to perceive them as a threat," says purina.com. "This triggers their fight-or-flight response. Your dog may bark at the noises or try to run away and hide. He may show other signs of anxiety, too, like restlessness, panting, pacing and whining."

Vasey said if your dog starts barking, it can also be unsettling for other pets.

“If a dog starts barking and it ends up panicking it's going to set a chain reaction like what you’re saying, and then the cats are going to say oh no the dogs are barking what’s going on?" she said.

With Independence Day coming up, there are a few things you can do to help your dog through the loud bangs that come with traditional firework festivities.

DISTANCE AND DISTRACTIONS

Try your best to keep your pet safely away from fireworks. The farther away your pet is from the loud noises, the less likely they are going to react to them. Fireworks are illegal to discharge within Corpus Christi city limits and many other areas of the Coastal Bend. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you won't see a lot of them during the 4th of July weekend. In 2019, the Corpus Christi Police Department received more than 250 complaints about people lighting fireworks. Bring your pets indoors, even if they normally stay outside, and turn on the TV or radio to soften the jarring noises.

TALK TO YOUR VETERINARIAN

Nobody has your pet's safety in mind better than a veterinarian. Veterinarians have medications and techniques that can help your pet deal with the fear and anxiety associated with loud noises.

Vasey recommends talking to a vet before giving your pet any sort of medication.

The Rockport-Fulton Humane Society recommended giving your pet CBD oil. They also recommended giving pets lavender that is specific to pets, because other lavender can be toxic to them. They said it calms pets and said you can either spray it around their kennel, spray it on a cloth and wipe them down with it, or spray on a bandanna they can wear.

COLLARS AND MICROCHIPS

Pets have a mind of their own. When scared, pets have been known to try and escape. Should this happen to your pet, you want to make sure they can be tracked down and returned home safely. Make sure your pet has a collar with ID tags just in case they are found. Properly microchipping your pet is also recommended, provided the chip is registered with the most current contact information. Animal care services often host free microchipping events.

COMFORT AND DESENSITIZE

Judy Morgan, DVM, of Dr. Judy Morgan’s Naturally Healthy Pets based in Woodstown, New Jersey says it could help to create a safe haven for your pets. It could be a room in the house or a kennel if your dog is comfortable with it. Morgan recommends putting a few familiar toys in the space and attempting to comfort them with attention. Morgan also recommends playing firework sounds at a low level and gradually increasing the volume to help desensitize your pets ahead of the big bangs.

Vasey recommended having your pet wear a Thunder Shirt, a vest that wraps around their stomach.

“And the whole theory behind this is that it feels like they’re being hugged and it gives them a sense of security," Vasey said