Keeping pets calm during fireworks

While Fourth of July fireworks may be fun for families, they can be traumatizing for pets.

"It creates an internal vibration that is very disturbing," said Dr. David Visser with the Center for Animal Health.

Many animals are disturbed by the loud sounds and constant flashes that come with fireworks season. But, Visser says there are several steps pet owners can take to help their furry family members cope.

If people are heading out to fireworks shows, Visser says it's best to leave pets at home, where they'll be away from the noise.

"In this situation that I can recall, this dog was so disturbed, ran away and, in the panicked way people are trying to catch this dog, and it was hit by a car," Visser says. "Now, it recovered from that injury. But, you can imagine what can happen not only if pets get injured, but they get lost."

Setting off smaller versions of fireworks at home can have the same damaging effect on animals.

If families decide to light up the neighborhood with their own show, Visser recommends putting pets in a safe, quiet place. A basement or windowless room inside the house could work.

Cotton balls can also carefully be placed in pets' ears to help reduce the sound.

But, even that may not be enough to keep some canines or cats calm. Pets with serious anxiety can be given a sedative or anxiety medication to help them cope.

"There are anti-anxiety medications similar to those used in people that can be given throughout this storm season or fireworks season," Visser said. "So, that sort of provides that protection."

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