Helping pets deal with Fourth of July fireworks

Published 9:29 pm Friday, July 1, 2016

Bug, 6, sits on her owner Christina Bedwell’s lap at the Valley Creek Veterinary Hospital.

Bug, 6, sits on her owner Christina Bedwell’s lap at the Valley Creek Veterinary Hospital.

Rosie, a 8-week-old Bernedoodle, visited Valley Creek Veterinary Hospital for her first check up. It was also a time for her family to gain information to keep her safe during the upcoming holiday.

Independence Day will be Rosie’s first experience with fireworks and explosions, a stressful and dangerous time for many animals.

Veterinarian Frances Kendrick said there are many things to remember and do to keep your pets safe over the weekend.

“We’ve seen dogs with burns in their mouth, we’ve seen dogs with burns on their feet where they’ll put their feet on the fireworks to stop it,” Kendrick said. “The best idea is that you keep them [inside] where you can keep an eye on them.”

For dogs with anxiety, Kendrick said to keep them inside, in the inner most part of the home away from windows and startling lights and noises.

She said soft music, such as classical music or a ticking clock, can be played to sooth the animal. Other options include thunder jackets or Adaptil, a pheromone, which can be sprayed on the pet’s blanket or toy.

If dogs are left outside, they could run away from being frightened or be physically harmed from a firework.

“We do see animals that run away and it’s difficult to find their way back home,” Kendrick said.

Although a majority of fireworks won’t be ignited until the evening, Kendrick said to be mindful of your pet and the heat when enjoying the weekend.

Much like humans, dogs can become overheated and suffer from heat stroke.

“Heat stroke is a very bad thing,” Kendrick said. “Dogs [can] die from heat stroke.”

To prevent your pet from becoming over heated, make sure to have plenty of cool water available and keep your pet in a shaded area. Should your pet get too hot, cool them down with free flowing water and then sit them next to a fan.

If a water hose isn’t accessible, Kendrick said to rub rubbing alcohol onto the dog’s abdomen and then fan the area. She said the alcohol will help lift heat and provide a cooling sensation as it evaporates.