Friday, July 1, 2011

4th of July

This may come across as cliché information, but I will post it anyway!! For everybody--even those who do not own canines--understand that fireworks frighten dogs. Newscasters faithfully announce this every year, newspaper articles express it, radio broadcasters remind us. But still.... Well-known or not, the message that canines and fireworks do not mix ought to be spread whenever July 4th comes around!!

This is some information taken from a Summer 2011 dog newsletter:

"Every year, many companion pets escape and are lost or injured because of their fear of fireworks. While many of us love the big bangs and beautiful lights, our companion pets do not share our sentiment. Many dogs and cats escape their homes, some never to be reunited with their families. We encourage each of you to please take the necessary precautions to make sure your companion pet remains safe, at home and healthy. If your pet is easily frightened by sudden noises or bright lights, talk with your veterinarian about a mild sedative to ease your pet's anxiety. Keep your pet in a safe place when the fireworks begin. Options include the pet's crate, a safe room or the basement. Turn on a radio for background noise to help muffle some of the bangs. Provide a high quality chew toy to help keep them busy and distracted. Provide their favorite stuffed toy, blanket or other item that helps them feel safe. Every year all animal shelters see many pets that have escaped over the July 4th holiday."

And.... According to its veterinarian, there is actually a name for this so-called pathological fear: Noise Phobia!! She writes:

"With the Fourth of July right around the corner, fireworks and loud noises are plentiful and for some pets, it's anything but a happy time. They can become anxious, stressed, terrified or uncomfortable and can suffer from a fear of loud noises known as noise phobia. Learn to recognize the signs of a noise phobia. Signs commonly seen are: shaking or trembling, excessive drooling, barking or howling, hiding, and trying to escape from the house, fence, or other enclosure. Some animals will lose control of their bladder or bowels and some may experience prolonged diarrhea from the stress. Keep in mind, dogs that escape can end up with wounds, lacerations or worse-hit by a car. To help you manage your dog's anxiety, try these tips: keep you dogs at home. Keep dogs inside in a safe, quiet room, turn on music and pull the window blinds. Remove any items that might be chewed. Take your dog for a walk prior to the start of the noise. Provide a safe "escape" place. For safety measures, make sure your pet's ID is current. If needed, visit your favorite vet for medical help with the noise phobia/anxiety behavior to ensure a safe holiday for you and your pet. "

Not every canine is afraid of fireworks. I can name five dogs who I've known on one hand that aren't the least bit fazed by them!! Seriously!! Five!! Even so, owners should heed this advice. Do not drive King to fireworks shows, even if you think he will tolerate them. I have witnessed some poor, frightened canines whose masters brought them downtown. Do King a favor: Abide by the veterinarian's words and leave him home!!

(I acknowledge completely that some facts were repeated in this post. My apologies for that!!)

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