by Preventative Care

It’s the season of outdoor celebrations, and that means fireworks! This July 4th, the skies over Santa Monica (Pacific Palisades, Marina del Rey, and Culver City) will be filled with colorful (and LOUD) displays. Some dogs and cats may be very fearful of these explosions…even hurting themselves by bolting through windows to flee the thunderous noise and bursts of light. In fact, the American Humane Association reports that July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters as owners search for their lost pets.

Here are some simple tips to make your red-white-and-blue holiday safer for your pet:

– Check to make sure your pets’ ID tags and MICROCHIP information are up to date just in case.

– Know which nearby clinics or emergency hospitals will be open during your neighborhood fireworks display.

– Keep your pet in a crate or small “safe” room if you need to leave the home.

– Try pheromone sprays the day of the event, such as Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs (available at most pet stores).

– Try a “THUNDERSHIRT” (available online). It’s like “hug,” where the pressure has a calming effect (there are studies to prove this).

– I like to use COTTON BALLS in ears to muffle the sounds. – White noise or MUSIC may disguise the concussive sounds.

– Offer your pet his or her favorite TREAT…hiding them helps to distract your pet!

– Provide extra WATER as nervous pets tend to drink more (and it’s hot out!).

– Consider MEDICATION. Do NOT use acepromazine, which is a tranquilizer that immobilizes your pet’s body but not its brain. If necessary, do use alprazolam (Xanax) or trazodone as they are calming drugs. You’ll need a current exam and prescription from your vet (see for appointment). These medications should be “tested” under supervision in advance, and then given two hours prior to the stressful event.

I hope this tip list was helpful. Please email any questions!

Thank you,

Cynthia Hervatic, DVM