Fireworks on the fourth of July means fun for the family, but for pets, it can be frightening. A local animal rights group says more pets run away on July 4th than any other days of the year.
Dr. Christi Kresser, a veterinarian at the Animal Hospital of Padre Island, says the sounds of loud fireworks causes fear in pets.
"They don’t know what’s making that noise," Dr. Kresser said. "All they know is that there’s a loud noise going on, and they don’t know where it’s coming from and they don’t know if they need to be worried about it or not," she added.
Loud bangs from fireworks don’t just scare pets, they can cause them to run away.
"It can happen to any dog," Dr. Kresser said. "And sometimes you’re surprised that it happens to your dog because your dog has been good for lots of other things, even thunderstorms. But fireworks are a little bit different," she added.
Dr. Kresser has some tips for owners to keep their pets calm during the holiday. First, know the signs. Signs of an anxious dog include panting, whining, hiding, and pacing the floor. More serious signs include barking or trying to escape. Benadryl or a vet-prescribed medication can be given to a pet showing any of the signs.
Dr. Kresser also recommends keeping dogs indoors, inside a closed room or inside a bathroom. That in addition to wrapping your pet in a blanket provides a sense of secureness and comfort.
Distractions like toys or belly rubs can also take a pet’s mind off of loud noises. Also, it’s important owners stay calm too.
"If they’re [the owners] calm, a lot of times, especially if it’s a mild phobia, the pets will stay calm as well," Dr. Kresser said.
Lastly, make sure pets have a collar with up-to-date information or a microchip just in case they run away.
If you know of a lost dog in the Coastal Bend area, there are resources to help reunite a furry friend with their family, including:
Help can also be found at local veterinarians and animal care services.