Many dogs become distressed when they hear loud noises such as trucks, vacuum cleaners, thunder and fireworks. This is because their senses are more acute than ours and they see, hear and sense things that we cannot. Emergency room veterinarians are used to seeing pets at this time of year due to traumatic injuries (pets panicking during firework displays may injure themselves or run into traffic) or because of diarrhea (colitis due to severe stress). As we prepare for the ‘firework’ holidays such as Victoria Day and Canada Day we wanted to put together a list of tips to help prepare and protect your pets when you anticipate that they may be exposed to loud noises that they do not like.
- · Keep your pets inside during a firework display. They will be distanced from the noise and therefore feel more protected, and they will be less likely to injure themselves indoors. It is best to try to have dogs outside for their evening walk before it is time for any fireworks. If you do choose to have your dog outdoors, please insure that they are safely leashed and that they are wearing identification in case they do slip away from you.
- · Make sure that during a firework display your windows and doors are closed in order to help prevent your pets from hearing it at full volume. If the fireworks are very nearby, you may also want to close curtains to shut out the flashing lights. You can somewhat drown out the noise created by fireworks by leaving a television or radio on.
- · Make sure not to change your routines or to reward the dog’s frightened behaviours. Although we naturally want to comfort our pets, it does not help to reward their fear. It will be more calming to them if you go about things in a normal way, and not react at all to the fireworks yourself.
- · Try distracting your pet during periods of stress by playing with them, practicing training moves or giving them a new toy or a favourite thing to chew.
- · Remember that fireworks may be toxic. Pets may try to sniff, eat or lick used or unused fireworks which contain potentially toxic substances. If your pets are brave and are exposed to fireworks while in use, they may be at risk for burns or trauma to their face and paws if not watched closely.
In some cases, our pets will experience extreme fear due to fireworks or other loud noises. For these pets, there are natural supplements, medications and training techniques that may help. Feel free to consult with one of our veterinarians if you feel that you and your pet need this extra help.
Happy Victoria Day from the health care team at Eglinton Vet!