Why Fido and fireworks don't mix

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 7/02/2013 7:01 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - Firework displays before, on and after the Fourth of July may be holiday tradition but that tradition can lead to psychological and even physical harm for the family dog.

Statistics show that more dogs get lost on and around the 4th of July than any other holiday.

The sight and sound of holiday fireworks may be entertaining to people but to most dogs, it's a frightening experience that can can cause them to become erratic and run away. Animal experts say no dog should be left outside when fireworks are going off.

"Your dog needs to be confined to your home. Or in your garage or wherever you keep your dog. It needs to not be somewhere it can go over the fence and be gone," said McKamey Animal Center executive director Karen Walsh.

Just because Fido is inside, that doesn't mean it won't be psychologically stressed out by the loud sounds of fireworks. Experts say now is the time to plan ahead.

"If your dog is very anxious, you might want to visit your veterinarian now and get a mild tranquilizer that you can give your dog during the time the fireworks are going off so the anxiety doesn't build," Walsh said.

Another option is sending the family dog to a boarding facility for an overnight stay. It keeps the pet owner from worrying about their dog's anxiety level and it allows the dog to rest. Facilities like The Ark Pet Hotel have already taken steps to drown out the sound of fireworks.

"We have music continuously playing downstairs and we also have the TV turned up just a notch to distracts the dogs," said Ark co-owner Nell Adams.

Experts also say this would be a good time to invest in a doggy compression vest.

"It's tight around them so that when they are stressed, it helps with anxiety," Walsh said.

This is also the best time to make sure the family pet is micro-chipped or to make sure the micro-chip information is up-to-date. The fourth of July holiday is traditionally a time when many dogs run away from home and end up in the city pound.

McKamey Animal Center has a lost and found segment on their website so if your dog does run away, you can look online to see if it's been picked up.
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