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Fear of Fireworks and Other Noise

Humane societies and shelters generally take in more stray animals over the Fourth of July holidays because many pets are scared by fireworks and run away. The holiday fireworks and other fanfare are often frightful experiences for dogs, especially since loud noises can hurt their sensitive ears.

Frightened dogs have different reactions: some tremble at their owners' feet, others retreat to a hiding place, some try to run off (traveling for miles), and others display bizarre behavior. According to behavior specialist Dr. Elizabeth Shull, low-frequency, percussive noises such as fireworks and summer thunderstorms trigger wild fear in about 20% of dogs. Under such circumstances, ordinarily well-behaved pets may become aggressive, destructive and/or unpredictable.

Here are some precautions you can take to help your pets:

* Exercise utmost caution when taking a dog into new environments. Make sure all pets always are wearing well-fitted collars and securely fastened ID tags. Microchips and tattoos are great i.d. techniques, too. Even a back-firing car or shot in the woods can be enough to incite a dog to run off, so avoid taking any chances.

* Don't take pets to events with fireworks.

* If fireworks are being set off nearby, or if you're having guests over for a holiday celebration, find a quiet, secure place to keep your pets. Crating is a good idea; place the crate in the quietest part of the home. Make sure you put safe chew toys in their crates to occupy and distract them during the event. You can close the curtains and turn up the radio, CD player or TV to drown out noise.

* Don't leave pets outside, even in a fenced yard, anytime when fireworks might be set off in the distance.

* Rather than cuddle a frightened dog, try to distract the dog from the disturbing noises with physical activity such as playing ball.

* Vets can prescribe tranquilizers for frightened dogs. Also, some people find that non-prescription remedies such as Rescue Remedy or Serene-um calm their dogs.

* If you're going out of town for the holidays, entrust the care and feeding of pets to an adult friend or a boarding kennel you know very well.

* If you know someone whose pet escaped, advise that they call their veterinarian and other local veterinarians, local emergency animal clinics, the local shelters and animal control offices. The owner can post a description and picture of the lost pet or search the Pets 911 database at www.1888PETS911.org (or call toll-free 1-888-PETS911). Another good resource is www.petfinder.org.

For more Dog Tips and other information about pet care, adoption and the work PAW does, visit our website at:
www.paw-rescue.org

Partnership for Animal Welfare, Inc.
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768


Last Updated: July 02, 2013 (LET) PawSupport