Surviving Fireworks with Pets

Pets don’t have to worry about hangovers or embarrassing Facebook posts after New Year’s Eve, but there’s one phenomenon that pets absolutely hate: fireworks. Kids and pets are alike in many ways — they like to eat anything, often poop in unexpected and inconvenient places, and can get into all sorts of trouble before you can say noSpotpleasedon’tchewonthatexpensivePradashoeordrinkthatantifreeze, but there’s one key way that they are different: kids LOVE fireworks and dogs (and some cats) HATE them.

For dogs, it’s like the dog-pocalypse has happened and they are prone to chew through drywall to get out of rooms and jump through plate glass windows to escape the coming zombie hordes they are certain are just around the corner. They know. They’ve watched The Walking Dead.

Here are a few tips for keeping your pet’s health, sanity and safety intact. I can’t help with those zombies, though — you guys are on your own for that one.

  • Bring outside pets inside or put them in a garage or basement during the fireworks (but make sure there are no toxins within reach).
  • Use music, toys or television as a distraction. Keep your pets in the quietest room of your home during the fireworks. Some pets stay calm when they are in a pet crate or in a darkened, quiet room. A dog toy that can be filled with treats as a reward can be hours of work — and help to keep their mind off the noise! For cats, try a catnip toy that will keep them active and happy!
  • Make sure that your pet has identification such as license, tag or microchip. Pets with ID have a much greater chance of being returned home!
  • Use the power of pheromones: ..whaaaa? Pheromones are chemical messengers that mother dogs use to calm puppies. Calming collars and calming diffusers (plugged into the wall) help to reduce the stress and anxiety that pets experience on NYE. Your dog could also benefit from a plush toy with calming drops.
  • Xanax, anyone? Talk to your veterinarian well ahead of time about safe sedation to use with your pet (older pets and those with medical conditions may not be able to be sedated safely). Plan ahead! Dec. 30 or July 3 is no time to be searching for a sedative!
  • When you assume, you… Don’t assume things are safe this year just because your pet hasn’t had problems in the past. Some pets will change their habits as they age.
  • When all is lost: If your pet is lost, check all local shelters, check back often and check online. It may take some time before spooked pets are brought to shelters. Call local veterinary ER’s and check the local online newspaper and Craigslist

You’ll save both you and your pet a lot of stress and anxiety if you plan ahead and heed some tips for surviving fireworks.

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