LifeLine Animal Project is providing tips for pet owners to keep their dogs and cats safe on July 4, when the sound of fireworks can terrify them, causing them to run in fear and get lost.
LifeLine, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that manages the DeKalb and Fulton county animal shelters, suggests pet owners take the following safety measures:
♦ Don't take pets to fireworks displays. No matter how social dogs can be, a loud, crowded fireworks show will scare and confuse them. Leave your pets at home.
♦ Keep pets inside your home. Since dogs’ hearing is much more sensitive than human beings’, bringing them indoors to a safe space will help them feel protected. If your pets are crate-trained, the crate is an ideal safe space. Otherwise, confine them to one room, close doors and windows and leave some soft music on in the background to comfort them.
♦ Never leave pets outside and unattended. Fireworks may stress dogs so much that they will try to jump over the fence or dig under it to get away from the perceived threat. Cats may also run away out of fear.
♦ Consider a ThunderShirt or medication. If your dogs get anxious during thunderstorms, fireworks will really scare them. ThunderShirts work well for some dogs while others do better on sedatives. Ask your veterinarian for medication to calm them or for one that helps with canine noise aversion.
♦ Provide a diversion. If you’re home during fireworks, break out your dogs’ favorite treats or provide extra cuddle time. If you’re going out, leave a long-lasting, safe treat that will distract them for a while such as a frozen Kong toy filled with peanut butter.
♦ Be prepared. Make sure your pets are wearing identification and are microchipped so you’ll have an easier chance of finding them if they do get lost. If your pets aren’t yet microchipped, the LifeLine Community Animal Center offers microchipping for $25.