Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Pet Talk

July 2, 2012

Protect your pets from the 4th

Dr. Melanie Bolling, veterinarian for the Small Animal Hospital at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said the most common problem associated with July 4 is dogs’ sensitivity to the noise from the fireworks.

“A lot of dogs are noise phobic, whether it’s fireworks or other loud noises such as guns, cars backfiring, and thunderstorms. These noises are scary and if you didn’t know what it was, you might be concerned about your safety, too,” Bolling said.

Bolling said the best idea is to keep dogs, particularly those with noise phobias, away from the commotion. If that is not an option, Bolling suggested using “anxiety wraps” or “thunder shirts,” a compression garment for dogs to wear that makes them feel secure. Bolling also recommended discussing appropriate anxiety-relieving medications with your veterinarian.

Another factor that can cause anxiety and stress in dogs is large crowds of unusual people. If you know ahead of time that your dog does not do well with large groups of people, Bolling suggested leaving the pet at home or boarding them. If you are going to bring them, she suggested having a calm area for the dog.

“It’s a good idea to give your dog a quiet place where they can get away from all the crowds of people if they are just not that into it,” Bolling said.

Bringing pets to these crowded areas usually means contact with other pets, some of which could be unvaccinated. Bolling said it is important to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date if bringing them with you.

“If you are going to be in a place where unvaccinated dogs might have walked, such as soccer fields, baseball fields, or parks, you want to make sure your dogs are up-to-date on vaccinations," she said.

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