Fireworks and pets do not mix

In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, Brian Herrman puts out new items on the shelves as sales of fireworks have been brisk at the store. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

WICHITA, Kansas – On the eve of the Fourth of July holiday, City of Wichita Animal Services is asking residents to be aware of the impact fireworks may have on pets.

“Many pets find the loud noises and lights associated with fireworks disturbing and a cause for major anxiety,” said Dennis Graves, Animal Services Supervisor. “A few animals find it terrifying and will sometimes do whatever they can to get away from the unusual and scary environment including breaking out of their yards and running away. This can cause traffic hazards, impoundments and pet injuries.”

Taking preventative steps now can help pets avoid this anxiety or at least minimize it. If you know your pet has issues associated with loud noises (such as thunderstorms, for instance) do what you can to minimize his or her exposure to the popping and banging once the celebrations begin.

Here are some recommended actions:

  • Bring outdoor pets inside to a quiet area of the home until the fireworks activity has subsided.
  • Have the animal rest in their crate or kennel and place heavy blankets over it to darken the space and create a quiet safe sanctuary until it’s more bearable for the animal.
  • Make certain that pet doors are secured, so a pet doesn’t dart out.
  • Spend ample time with the animal playing prior to the parties and feed it well; a tired pet with a full belly is usually less active and less prone to stress, and may even nap right through.
  • Once the noises begin, talk to the animal in reassuring tones to lessen his or her anxiety.
  • Obtain anti-anxiety devices such as special wraps that mimic the soothing effect some dogs get from being held to help reduce the anxiety and stress.
  • Consider having a veterinarian prescribe anti-anxiety medications.

“A few simple steps taken beforehand can help your furry family members manage the stress and stay at home where they belong during the festivities,” Graves said.

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