Calming your pets when fireworks go off


Fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand-in-hand, but they don't go along so well with your pets.

Independence Day can be a stressful time for dogs and cats, whose hearing is more sensitive than ours. Loud noises can make them scared and anxious, and they may try to escape.

In fact, 30 percent of pet losses in the country happen on July 4th.

It's pretty easy to tell if your pet is not a fan of fireworks.

"Mysha does not like fireworks at all," says Beverly Stewart, laughing at her Cocker Spaniel. "She hates them."

So does Murphy, Barb Krizman's nine-year-old dog.

"He starts shaking, he'll go behind the toilet, he'll jump in the bathtub," Krizman says. "He just wants to get out.

If you already know your pets are sensitive to noise, don't take them with you to fireworks shows -- keep them inside.

Prepare one room in your house or apartment as a "comfort zone."

"I got a place for her in the closet with a bed in it," Stewart says. "So every time the fire works start, she'll go in the closet."

Close the blinds and curtains, and turn on the TV or some music to help dampen the lights and noise of fireworks.

Load up the room with some toys and blankets for comfort. Some say soothing smells, like lavender, can help as well.

"Just keep your pets as comfortable as you can," Krizman says.

Don't try to force your dog to come out of hiding, as she can become aggressive if you try to take her out of her comfort zone.

If you plan to be out watching fireworks, try to find a dog sitter, if possible.

That's what Stewart plans to do.

"I'll probably put her upstairs and have someone keep her while I come down to the park and see a little bit of [fireworks] tonight," she says.

Anxiety medication is also an option -- nearly 3 million Americans give their dogs medicine every year, accordingto theNational Pet Owners Survey of the American Pet Products Association.

But pet owners should only use medication if they've consulted with their veterinarian.

"Just recently, as of yesterday, just started some medicine that the vet recommended," Krizman says. "Just to soothe him, just to keep him calm."

In case the worst-case scenario does happen and you do lose your pet, make sure beforehand that they're wearing their collar and tag with updated contact information. Bring your vet's papers and any other documentation that will help prove that your pet belongs to you.