4th of July Festivities and Pets

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Updated: 7/03/2012 4:29 pm Published: 7/03/2012 8:12 am

While this time of year is for fireworks and celebration, for many pets and their owners it can be a nightmare. Dr. Rodney Robards of Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital advises pet owners to take precautions for summer festivities.

The loud noises, flashing lights, and smell of sulfur can cause excessive fear in pets. Nervous behaviors such as trembling, whimpering, and panting may not cause harm to the pet, but the animal’s natural response to flee from what he interprets as a threatening situation may result in serious injury. Dr. Robards suggests pet owners to plan ahead.
  • Leave your pets at home and indoors. Most pets are afraid of fireworks and may try to run away.
  • Close all doors and windows and put on background music to muffle the sound.
  • Close curtains and blinds to block the flashing lights.
  • Try to distract your pet with chew toys and games, or to play with another pet that does not share the fear.
“A fear of fireworks and of loud noises in general is common in dogs and other pets, and in many cases is accompanied by other anxieties, such as thunderstorm phobia or separation anxiety,” explained Dr. Robards.

Managing the behavior is the most important aspect of solving the problem.
  • Avoid doing anything that reinforces the behavior such as stroking the pet.
  • A better option is to play with your pet to distract it from the fireworks
  • Avoid getting angry with the pet as that is counterproductive
A veterinarian can dispense various products to help alleviate these phobias. However, the treatments that are available for dog phobias are very limited. None have been proven to work completely, and there are no drugs registered to treat fireworks phobias in dogs.

With the high temperatures we are having, Dr. Robards also wants to remind pet owners to make sure they take proper precautions and provide relief from the heat for their pets. The heat can be difficult on pets, especially older pets.

About Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital:

Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital is a full service veterinarian hospital offering services in preventative care, diagnostics and laser surgery for dogs and cats as well as smaller “pocket pets” such as birds, ferrets, hamsters and guinea pigs. Dr. Rodney Robards has owned and operated the facility for more than 20 years. A native of Tulsa, Dr. Robards is a graduate of Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital also offers a state of the art boarding facility. For more information visit the website at southernhillsvet.com.

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