The firework holiday is here and while it may delight many of us, our pets usually don't agree. Between the loud noises, commotion due to people visiting, and eating too much picnic food-the Fourth can be a tough time. What can you do to help your pet get through the weekend?
First, keep your pet safely confined at home. They will often do best in a familiar environment and a crowded fireworks display is not a good idea even for a pet who doesn't mind loud noises. If you are having visitors, make sure they know not to let your pet out of the house or yard--the number of lost pets skyrockets on the Fourth holiday and you don't want your furry family member to be one of those statistics.
Leaving a radio or television on may help some pets weather the fireworks noise better. If your pet is truly phobic about fireworks or thunderstorms, please visit your veterinarian to see if anti-anxiety medications may be appropriate.
If you are having fireworks or sparklers at your home, also be sure to keep them safely locked away from your pets. They contain elements that can be poisonous when licked or ingested. If your pet gets into your fireworks, call your emergency hospital or animal poison control immediately. It is a good idea to have these phone numbers already available and accessible so you do not spend valuable time searching in an emergency. Another risk to pets occurs with getting burned from fireworks--they do not understand what is going on, and may get into the path of danger when they are trying to flee.
We also often see pets with gastric distress after picnics--please remember that overindulging in hot dogs, hamburgers, and all the feast is not good for your buddy no matter how cute they are when they beg. Corn cobs can also be dangerous for your pets--if ingested, they can cause obstructions which require surgery. A buttered ear of corn can be a real temptation for your pet.
Although you may want your pet to participate in all of the holiday fun, its often best for them to have a chill day confined to home. Happy Fourth of July!
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Nancy Drumm is the general manager of Capital Vets, a family of four AAHA accredited veterinary hospitals in the Capital District of New York.