Fireworks Safety for Pets

Top Vets Talk Pets Team

The 4th of July is just around the corner!  While you might be thinking you’ve waited too long to get help for your fearful dog or cat, it’s not too late!  Here are some helpful tips to have a safe and relaxed holiday for everyone in your family!

The 4th of July is the #1 time for pets to become lost.

More pets become lost over the July 4th holiday than any other time (Halloween is #2). While we Americans love to celebrate our Independence Day with lots of food, friends and fireworks, the loud noises that come as a result have too many pets trembling in fear, or even fearing death. In an attempt to flee the threat (fireworks, firecrackers, etc.) many pets run out an open door, slip their leash, or dig under a fence and run for their lives. 

Tips include: 

a) make sure the pet has a current ID tag with mobile phone number 

b) make sure pet is microchipped and that contact information is current 

c) consider boarding the pet or keeping them at a family member or friend’s home in the country away from the explosions 

d) have a current photo of your pet in case you have to post “lost posters.”

DANGER! DON’T USE THIS DRUG your vet may have prescribed in the past to calm them for fireworks, thunderstorms or for travel.

In the past, many veterinarians prescribed Acepromazine for pets that were flying or suffering from noise phobias (fireworks, thunderstorms). We now know that this drug is actually contraindicated for all of these problems as when used alone it does little, if anything, to relieve a pet’s fear or anxiety; in fact, it can make the problem worse! Acepromazine (Ace) used alone, can make the fear, anxiety and stress much worse for the pets and in doing so, can cause the pet to become more excitable and seriously injure themselves. Dogs on Acepromazine (originally a human antipsychotic drug) have run through plate glass windows, jumped out of vehicles, escaped from confinement (chewed through kennels) and physically traumatized themselves. 

However, there is an amazing FDA approved product for noise phobias in dogs called Sileo that is applied to a dog’s gums to prevent or treat noise phobias. 

In addition, your veterinarian may recommend a compression garment (Thundershirt), neutraceuticals (Zylkene) or a generic prescription of Xanax (Alprazolam). 

Thunderstorm Hacks To Keep Pets & Their People Calm  

What if there was something in your house that would actually promote “the calm before the storm?” Did you know that during a thunderstorm, before the dogs seeks the flashes of light, hears the clap of thunder or the pounding of rain on the roof, there’s a buildup of static electricity in their coat? That’s why many dogs seek a place to prevent this buildup or ground themselves, such as in a bathtub or shower, in the basement or garage, on concrete, or in a vehicle with rubber tires. You can take an unscented fabric softener sheet, rub the dog’s trunk, and it will prevent the buildup of static electricity, and viola, at least 1/3 of the dogs will have zero problems with thunderstorms.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!