Fireworks spark fear in pets

Monday, June 30th 2008, 8:03 pm
By: News 9


The loud sounds of fireworks blasting in the distance on July 4 leave some pets traumatized, said some veterinarians. But these animal-loving doctors have some new options for those wanting to keep their furry friends happy and trauma-free during this explosive holiday.

Dogs aren't that much different from humans when they get stressed out, veterinarians say. Medication might be the answer.

Dog owner Arikka Finn says her dog Roxy reacts the same way each Fourth of July.

"Chaotic, terrorized behavior, basically terrorized," said Finn.

Actually, the fireworks aren't just on the Fourth.

"It's before and about a week-and-a-half after. And it doesn't seem to stop. With each Fourth of July, I think it gets worse," said Finn.

She said all of her dogs are edgy, but that it seems tougher on the small breeds. It's not easy on her either.

"I can't sleep. I don't get enough sleep," said Finn. "They get a lot of anxiety, running around, barking, all hours of the night especially."

Some veterinarians said this is not unusual for dogs to act anxious and stressed during Independence Day celebrations.

"This is real common. The week or two before the Fourth of July, I'll get a couple of calls every day," said veterinarian Dr. Paul Welch.

Dr. Welch said his office used to prescribe tranquilizers for dogs, but the problem is that type of medication can take a long time to take effect and don't last very long when they do. Welch said vets are switching to anti-anxiety medications, which work quickly. In case you're worried about a puppy pill-popper, they are not addictive.

Xanax is the drug of choice for dogs, but Dr. Welch said vets keep the doses small.

"It just works very, very nicely and it's been researched a lot in the veterinary market," said Dr. Welch.

Finn said she will put the dogs in an interior room where it's quieter or play music to block the sound of the fireworks. But, that doesn't always work.

"I have to come over here and get sedation medication for them...To make sure that they don't go crazy," said Finn.