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Fireworks season scary for dogs

Tranquilizers can help calm frightened pets

SHARE Fireworks season scary for dogs

At 80 pounds, Brisco, a 7-year-old collie/husky mix from Layton, isn't a small dog. However, the otherwise macho pet is terrified of fireworks noise.

Last July 24 he broke off a front tooth, tipped over his water bucket and pulled several boards off his dog run when the neighborhood fireworks started exploding.

This year, the owner has obtained some tranquilizers from his veterinarian to try and calm the animal.

"This is a huge concern," Temma Martin, spokeswoman for Salt Lake County Animal Services, said, explaining this type of phobia is very common for canines. In fact, dogs are more susceptible to loud-noise phobia than cats.

"Dogs have been known to break their chains, dig under dog runs and even dive into plate-glass windows," she said of some pets' behavior during fireworks. "It's just individual phobias."

Martin said if a dog is afraid of thunder, he or she will likely have a problem with fireworks noise, too. All the illegal items around — bottle rockets and firecrackers — are among the worst for creating frenzies in some dogs.

She suggests that people consider bringing their dogs indoors during evening fireworks.

"Put them in a basement or even play music or turn on the television to try and drown out the noise," Martin said.

Tranquilizers, obtained from a veterinarian, are another option. For $4 to $5, a dog owner can get enough pills from a veterinarian to keep a dog calm not only on the Fourth of July but a few days before and afterward too, when many fireworks are set off.

However, children may also set off fireworks during the day, when dog owners are at work.

Even though cats are not as sensitive to fireworks, Martin suggests bringing them inside during fireworks as well.

Making sure your dog has proper identification is also crucial, she said. Many dogs run away from home during fireworks displays each year and end up at animal shelters. Some lack I.D.

She said in a typical year, Salt Lake County finds 200 to 300 strays following the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day holidays. This makes July one of the biggest months of the year for strays at animal shelters.

E-MAIL: lynn@desnews.com