(WAFB) - Independence Day may be fun for us, but for pets it can be frightening and even dangerous.
Doctors at the LSU Veterinary School of Medicine say the animals’ enhanced hearing make them easily startled by loud noises.
"They have very sensitive hearing, so it's a lot harder for them to hear and see that than it is for us," said Dr. Nancy Welborn. "And they don't know it's coming, so it's scary. So the best thing, one, is never take pets to a fireworks show."
Dr. Welborn says pets will run off and can get lost. She says it's best to let your pet find a safe spot inside and stay there until the show is over.
"My dog, my personal dog, he hides in a closet, and it's dark in there. I kind of close the door and he's fine," Dr. Welborn said. "They can pick their spot where they want to be."
The American Humane Society says July 5 is the busiest day of the year at animal shelters as companion animals that fled in fright from Fourth of July fireworks are found miles their homes, often disoriented and exhausted.
Dr. Welborn recommends that if you pet is overly anxious, you consider medication to relieve stress. But you must consult your veterinarian before administering any kind of drug.
If your pet is upset by thunder, a door slamming or other loud noises, Fourth of July fireworks can be terrifying. The American Humane Society recommends taking these precautions:
- Your pets won’t enjoy the fireworks display, so leave them at home! Keep them inside, shielded from loud noises. Keep windows closed and draw the shades to minimize the sound and flashes of light.
- If loud noises upset your pets, do not leave them alone while you’re out celebrating; make sure someone can stay with them. If you’re home, act calm and give them reassuring pets and hugs…animals look to you to see how you’re reacting.
- If you think your pets should be tranquilized, consult your veterinarian well in advance.
- Contact an animal behaviorist to work with your pets on their fears. With some positive reinforcement and behavior modification training, by next Independence Day, you all may be worry-free!
- Be sure that all ID tags are properly affixed to your pet’s collar and that they have your current contact information, including cell number(s).
- Update your microchip registrations and pet license information to ensure they’re current.
“With a little care and preparation, the Fourth of July can be fun for people and safe for pets,” says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “Let’s keep our best friends quiet and calm so we can continue to enjoy them come July 5.”
Experts say make sure your pet has a collar or microchip to make tracking them easy if they do happen to get scared and run off.