SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– You may be startled by the sound of fireworks at random times these next few days, but pet owners also have their animals to help out.
For our pets, the Fourth of July holiday can be stressful and even traumatic, which is why experts say preparation for the holiday is key for a smooth weekend. Shelters each year see a rise in lost pets around the Fourth of July holiday, and veterinarians field calls from worried pet owners.
“Not only do we have thunderstorms that the dogs are having to deal with, but now we have fireworks on top of it,” veterinarian Denise Roche said. “And I think a lot of dogs really panic and have a difficult time with it.”
But — there are some things you can to do help your pet.
Dr. Roche recommends trying out several behavioral modifications first.
“Finding a safe room for your pet to stay in, if they like watching television, leave some music on, you know maybe dim the lights. Give them a distraction whether it’s their favorite toy.”
She recommends making sure cats also have a hiding space.
“A lot of people don’t think about cats and noise phobia but they also experience it as well.”
Roche says using a “thunder shirt” for your pet can also help make them feel secure.
If all else fails, your vet can incorporate some sort of pharmaceutical intervention.
“About 75 percent of pet owners say that their animals experience noise phobias, but only about 30 percent of pet-owners actually seek help from a veterinarian, and I think there’s that big disconnect there and I think we need to realize that we can actually intervene and make this a less scary time for our pets.”
Roche also mentions the importance of having your pet micro-chipped. One thing that Karen Foutch with the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri says can help reunite lost pets with their owners.
“Whenever a stray is brought in by a good samaritan we do the scan and we instantly see ‘oh, they do they have an owner.’ The first thing we do is contact them, and it’s a happy re-union between the family and the pet.”
Foutch says to always update your pet’s micro-chip anytime you move or change phone numbers.
The Humane Society of Southwest Missouri is hosting a low-cost microchipping clinic later this morning. It is by-appointment-only, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call (417)833-2526.