AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Fireworks are a common sight and sound during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. While humans may enjoy the pyrotechnic display, veterinarians say it can be a frightening time for your pets.
The holiday is also a busy time for shelters. At the Mahoning County Dog Pound, the July 5 is known for lost dogs. The unpredictable, loud noises of fireworks can be stressful for animals and cause them to run.
Last year, the pound took in 20 dogs and had more than 30 lost dog reports.
Dr. Brandt Athey, with the Austintown Veterinary Clinic, said there are some things you can look out for to keep your pet safe. He said shaking, hiding, pacing and going to the bathroom are all signs that your pet may be nervous around loud noises. He said to make sure you bring your pet indoors while fireworks are going off.
“What we really worry about is if they bolt and if they run away,” Athey said. “There are reports of dogs going through closed windows because they are so anxious and try to escape from the loud, unpredictable noise.”
It can also be a problem for cat owners – watch for open doors and gaps in fences. Make sure your pets are well identified with collars and microchips. Athey said the technology is relatively inexpensive at just under $50. The chip can be set during a regular appointment.
If the loud noises do bother your furry friends, veterinarians suggest keeping them in a quiet room and distracted while fireworks are going off. If they are still stressed, there are a few tools that can help such as a Thunder Shirt.
“The Thunder Shirt is a popular option. It kind of provides a sense of ease and comfort because it makes them feel like they are getting a hug from somebody and for some dogs that is helpful,” Athey said.
If the stress is hard to manage, there is medication available that can help. Your veterinarian can help you decide which one is best for your pet.