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Tip of the Month

6/24/2011 Pets and Fireworks

Fireworks can cause a great deal of stress to many pets: not only can the loud noise be terrifying but fireworks are poisonous to animals. Fireworks contain dangerous chemicals such as potassium nitrate (one of the components of gunpowder) charcoal or sulfur, and heavy metals. Plus, if your pet is exposed to a spark or flame, their fur can catch fire, causing severe burns.

If fireworks are ingested, your pet can have bloody diarrhea, a painful abdomen and vomiting. Trembling and / or seizures may occur along with panting, jaundice (having a yellow cast to the skin), burns to the lips, nose or inside the mouth. The smoke from fireworks can also cause eye irritation.

Pets have sensitive hearing so loud noises such as fireworks, thunder and / or gunshots can be a very uncomfortable and terrifying time for them. Known as noise phobia the common symptoms can include:

- Lose of bowel or bladder control
- Trying to hide or runaway
- Shaking or trembling
- Barking and/or howling
- Drooling and / or refusing to eat

Always talk to your veterinarian or veterinary assistant if your pet seems to have noise phobia. Sometimes, behavior modification can help but many pets will need some type of tranquilization to help alleviate the symptoms.

Prevention is always the key. For the safety of your pet, keep them home and do not take them with you to “enjoy” the festivities. Keep them indoors with the windows and curtains closed. Turning on a radio or television may help offer some distraction. Make sure your pet has urinated and/or defecated before locking them in the house to prevent accidents.

Offer a safe place for them to hide such as a crate or quiet, dark room. Have your pet become familiar with their safe place before you need it. A frightened pet can be very destructive. They can jump over or tear down fences, dig at the floors and carpets, jump through windows, chew and tear at walls and doors and much more. All which result in injuries and sometimes lost pets. It is always a good idea to be sure your pet has proper identification in the event that they do escape from the home or yard.

www.vetmedicine.about.com
www.petpoisonhelpline.com
www.aspca.org

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