Purdue vet suggests ways to manage pets during July 4 fireworks

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Fourth of July fireworks can frighten pets and farm animals and cause them to react in ways that might injure them. But a Purdue veterinarian says there are numerous ways to protect your pets during the celebrations.

“Owners must use common sense when they allow pets to join the festivities,” said Lorraine Corriveau, a wellness veterinarian at Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “Some dogs like chasing those spinning and swirling objects on the ground. Others fear loud noises. Owners can use simple tricks like putting cotton in their pets’ ears to muffle the sound.”

Fourth of July fireworks can frighten pets and farm animals. (Photo via linein @ Flickr.com)

Fourth of July fireworks can frighten pets and farm animals. (Photo via linein @ Flickr.com)

Corriveau suggests these tips for lowering the noise stress of pets:

  • Never leave pets alone outdoors, even if tethered or in a fenced yard. Dogs, especially, may escape and become lost or injure themselves chewing or choking on their leashes. Keep small pets indoors, preferably in a room without windows, and horses in their stalls.
  • Make sure all sharp objects are removed from enclosures.
  • Turn on the radio or TV for distraction.
  • Do not take pets to fireworks shows.
  • Do not leave a pet in a car unattended.
  • Keep pets on leash or in a carrier if they must be outside.
  • Protect animals from children who may not realize that waving sparklers or setting off “safe” firecrackers could upset pets.
  • Keep I.D. tags current so the pet and owner can be reunited if loud noises cause it to run away.
  • Sedate horses and some dogs if needed. Noise phobia can get worse as a pet ages. A veterinarian can advise about giving a mild sedative or tranquilizer to calm the fears of an over-stressed dog, cat or horse.
  • Desensitize your pet by playing CDs that contain noises of thunderstorms, fireworks or gunshots.
  • Pick up leftover sparklers and other sharp objects when the night of festivities is over.

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