MIAMI (CBS4) – While the 4th of July fireworks displays may leave you in awe; it could be a frightening experience for your pets. Big gatherings, loud noises, and fireworks are the things we love about the 4th of July and those can be very frightening for our pets.
In fact, fireworks scare some animals so much, they hurt themselves.
For Tasha, a Shih Tzu, Independence Day felt more like D-day.
The recent storms have already put her on edge, and fireworks from Sunday night sent her to the Pet Emergency Room in South Miami, vomiting from the stress. But Tasha is not alone.
Veterinarian Dr. Jessie Hatfield said he treats pets at the E.R. every 4th of July. The fireworks are just too much for some cats and dogs to handle. Dogs are especially susceptible.
“I’ve even seen dogs jump through a glass window or try to claw through doors….or if they do escape from the house, sometimes we’ll see them hit by a car,” Hatfield told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
One of the most obvious reasons many animals fear fireworks is their hearing. On average, experts say dogs hear sound waves at least five times more acutely then humans do. Cats hear ten times better. So what sounds like a simple pop to human beings can make pets feel like bombs are falling.
“They don’t know what’s happening and they don’t know if it’s something that’s going to hurt them,” said Dr. Hatfield.
Dog owner Greer Carey is lucky. His Plot Hound Cletus has been bred to handle loud pops without fear.
“He just seems to look around to be curious about it, it doesn’t seem to bother him,” said Carey.
But Carey is playing it safe by leaving Cletus inside at home while he watches the fireworks.
“Cletus will stay inside tonight, that’s the place for him to be.”
Hatfield said you should do that too. And she recommends you close the windows and blinds, and leave the TV or music on, to help drown out the fireworks.
Make sure your pet is wearing an I.D. tag in case they run away.
Above all, be anxiety-free yourself.
“Just act like everything’s normal, like it’s a normal day,” advises Hatfield.
Here are some simple ways to help you and your pooch (and kitty) safe during 4th of July festivities.
- KEEP PETS INDOORS
- Keep your pets in a safe, enclosed room, preferably one without windows. If you’re having guests over, consider keeping pets in a room that’s off-limits to guests, with plenty of water and food.
- CREATE A CALMING ENVIRONMENT
- Surround pets with their favorite toys and other familiar objects. Sometimes the smell of an article of clothing from your laundry can help comfort them. Play soothing music and keep the room as quiet as possible by closing doors, windows, and blinds.
- KEEP AWAY FROM FIREWORKS
- Even if your pet doesn’t seem obviously upset by fireworks, they can still cause harm to pets. Avoid potential burns, injuries, or possible ingestion by keeping all pets out of the vicinity of fireworks.
- UPDATE IDENTIFICATION
- The biggest risk of all this 4th of July is that pets will get loose and become lost. Even if a pet is secured inside, the sound of fireworks can cause them to panic – sometimes even breaking through glass windows. Make sure your pets are microchipped and wearing identification tags. Dogs should have a County License on their collar.
If your pet is not microchipped, please remember that Miami-Dade Animal Services offers microchipping for $10, 7 days a week. Other county humane societies, as well as private vets, also offer the service.
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