Ask the ER Vet!
By Mark O’Hanlon, DVM – Animal Emergency & Specialty (AES)
Dear AES: Fireworks really scare our dogs. Last year, we left them in the garage, where we thought they’d feel safe, and they destroyed the molding around the door to the house! What can we do to help them this summer? ~ Booming in Bellevue
Dear Booming: Your dogs are not alone! Many dogs are frightened by loud noises like thunder and fireworks. Consequently, Independence Day is one of the most stressful holidays for pets and busiest times of the year for animal shelters. Keeping your pets at home during fireworks displays is ideal. If they bolt in a crowded park, finding them will be challenging. Leaving them in a car is a bad idea due to the risk of heat stroke or theft. Don’t leave your pets unsupervised outside. That fence that usually keeps them contained can easily be jumped once adrenaline kicks in!
Consider confining your dogs in a comfortable, quiet area inside the house. The “fight or flight” instinct can occur indoors, too, causing pets to impale themselves on sharp objects or even crash through windows! Your dogs will feel safer in their favorite crate or bedroom. As you learned last year, some dogs can become destructive when stressed, so be sure to remove any fragile or potentially dangerous items from reach.
Turn the radio or television on to help drown out the fireworks noises. Stuffing your dogs’ ears with cotton balls may also help, but be sure not to overstuff so they can easily be removed after the celebration.
Before the holiday, verify that all pets are wearing identification and that their registration (including microchip information) is current, just in case. If you know your dogs have anxiety issues, consider staying home with them or hiring a pet sitter. If your dogs are still acting anxious, give your family veterinarian or AES a call. We offer discounted examination fees and medications to otherwise healthy pets who need help overcoming their holiday blues.
To submit a question for the Ask the ER Vet! column, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In case of a pet emergency, please call (425) 827-8727.