Safe & Sane: Animal Expert Tips on Fireworks & Pets

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Fireworks and other staples of the Fourth of July can pose a threat to pets. Many pets cower, quiver, behave frantically or become destructive in response to noise trauma. Fireworks, garbage trucks, thunder storms and other problems need behavior modification. Pet owners can temporarily address these problems quickly with a few July 4th pet precautions courtesy of animal expert, Diana L. Guerrero.

Fireworks and other staples of the Fourth of July can pose a threat to pets. Does your pet cower, quiver, behave frantically or become destructive in response to noise? Fireworks, garbage trucks, thunder storms and other problems need behavior modification. You can temporarily address these problems quickly with a few pet precautions courtesy of California animal behaviorist, Diana L. Guerrero.

Many pets exhibit noise phobia differently, in addition to the reactions listed above, some critters hide under furniture but all negative responses come from certain triggers. During the Fourth of July it is the noise from holiday fireworks. Pet may become live versions of Velcro--and stick closely to their owners.

Guerrero said, “Pet lovers need to first understand that ‘comforting’ the pet, although done with good intentions, can actually reinforce the fear and panic.”

Diana L. Guerrero is an author and pet pioneer who shares over thirty years of revolutionary techniques and innovative services. She publishes ARKANIMALS.COM and is an international columnist on animal behavior and training. She writes for animalsnet.com, a animals only search engine (scheduled to launch in August)and many others magazines and journals.

She explained that "training by accident" often escalates pet problems and suggests pet owners verbally reassure their pets. Voice communication does not reinforce the fear like cuddling, petting, holding, and trying to physically relieve the stress does.

The age of your pet, socialization, experience, and breed can also influence their reactions. Animals with an established history of problems will likely worsen. Elderly animals may get better simply because they lose their hearing.

“Animal are fine-tuned for survival and their senses are distinctly more acute than humans. Smells, rumbles and sudden bursts of light can illicit escalated reactions in pets.” Guerrero explained.

There are ways to work through noise phobia exhibited before earthquakes, during thunderstorms and throughout firework displays, but it takes time and preplanning. In the meantime use some quick tips and tools to address the problem behavior, which escalates annually during the Fourth of July holiday.

Guerrero suggests the following:

· Keep your animals inside during July 4th and for a few days to a week prior to the holiday.

· Make sure you have a tag with current information on your pet during this time.

· If you take your animal outside for toileting or any other activity, make sure they are under physical restraint via a collar and leash.

· Leave your pets safely at home instead of taking them to picnics or other holiday events.

· Play music or turn on a radio station with soothing music to help mask outside noises.

· Buy a plug-in Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) dispenser. This permeates the air with a calming scent and reduces fear and anxiety.

· Keep your pet busy with activities or chew items before the height of noise making occurs.

· Visit your veterinary medical professional and ask for melatonin. This oral neurohormone often provides help for sensitive animals. Use with the veterinarian’s dosage recommendation and don’t try to do it yourself.

· Flower remedies work on an energetic level. Five Flower® or Rescue Remedy® mixes may help reduce your pet’s anxiety.

· Create a safe haven. If your animal is habituated to a crate you may want to provide access for security. Other options include the bathroom, laundry room, garage, basement, or any other den area. The room to choose is one where there are no windows to jump through, or where windows can be blocked off and are too high and narrow to access.

· Some animals want to hide and will feel safe in a favorite spot, like under the bed. You can create sleeping bag tunnel or similar option for them.

· Plan a party and play instead of participating in other events. Making new traditions can be fun and helpful for your pet.

· Consider boarding your pet at a professional kennel for the holiday.

“Pet owners should always check with their veterinarian or behavior specialist before using any drugs or tranquilizers. They should also watch guests--since an open door can provide an opportunity for animals to bolt outside.” She said.

Guerrero concluded, “Use simple steps to get you through the crisis. If your pet has noise phobia problems you should start your behavior modification problem right after this holiday.” Get more hints and tips from http://www.arkanimals.com.

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