Buddy & Porky’s Pet Health: Dogs and Fireworks

Dear Porky and Buddy,

My dog King hates loud noises and last year he had conniption fits (or at least the dog equivalent) every time there were any fireworks even faintly audible over the Fourth of July. What can I do to make this weekend less stressy and difficult for him.


Dear Jim,

For King and many other pets, fireworks are a new, strange and sometimes terrifying noise, and as many pet owners know, they can cause a great deal of stress for some animals. Commonly seen signs include: shaking, trembling; excessive drooling; barking, howling; trying to hide or get into or out of the house, fence, or other enclosure; refusing to eat food. Some animals may loose bladder or bowel control or experience temporary diarrhea from prolonged stress.

Some animals do fine and don’t seem to notice the fireworks. Some do well with just having their owner near, talking in a soothing voice and petting or holding the pet. And then there are some pets that cannot be calmed by petting or talking to them – they are simply too upset. Animals that are frightened and stressed can hurt themselves and possibly escape if left alone, and the results can be fatal. Frightened animals running loose are in great danger of being hit by a car.

Here are some tips to help keep King and all other pets safe and secure this coming weekend.

Keep your pets at home and indoors. Close the curtains and turn on the TV or radio to provide some distraction. A quiet place, such as a carrier, may provide your pet with a sense of security and comfort.

Use a leash or carrier*.* If you must be outside with your pet, keep the pet on a leash or in carrier at all times.

Practice fire safety*.* Keep your pet away from matches, open fires, and fireworks – especially ones that are lighted on the ground. Pets may try to sniff (or eat) fireworks, and pet hair can easily catch fire if too close to the fireworks.

Take your pet for a walk first*.* If possible, make sure that you pet has time to “use the restroom” before the fireworks start. Some pets are too frightened to void once the fireworks begin, and this may lead to an “accident” later on.

Make sure your pet ID is current. Make sure that your pet has proper identification tags, with current information, in case s/he gets away. This will help the local animal control officers (who are quite busy this time of year handling frightened runaways).

Medication (in the form of a tranquilizer) may be warranted. Talk to your vet about medical options that are suitable for your dog or cat.

Remember, if you can find ways to help King or any other pet ignore the fireworks, you can enjoy them all the more.

For more fun than fireworks come play with us for a good cause at the 10th Annual Chasing & Fetching Balls (a/k/a Golf) Tournament. It’s Friday, July 16th at Greenview Country Club in West Monroe. For details, online registration, or a downloadable mail-in form, go to www.oswegohumane.org.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email: ochsco[email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org