Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Pet Talk

December 22, 2010

Fireworks can cause anxiety, fear

(Continued)

College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences —

According to Cook desensitization - meaning getting your pet used to fireworks - is not a very effective approach.

"It is very hard to desensitize a dog or cat to the noise of fireworks, as these are distinct and rarely encountered," notes Cook. "It is probably more effective to protect your pet from the noise or train it to focus on you when any loud noises occur."

"The best strategies include trying to block out the noise with loud music on the television, or providing a distraction like a favorite toy," notes Cook. "If you behave as though nothing is wrong and instead engage your pet in a game or training exercise, it may deduce that there is no cause for anxiety."

In case of a severe phobia, your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication or sedative for your pet. However, it should only be used if there is no other way to calm your pet down during these times. It is also wise to give the medication about one hour before the fireworks are expected; waiting to give the pill when the animal is anxious may limit its effect.

The best way to avoid any anxiety from fireworks is to keep your pets inside or on a leash away and distracted from the sights and sounds of New Year's Eve. Any place where they most feel safe is preferable for your pets.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at http://tamunews.tamu.edu. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to cvmtoday@cvm.tamu.edu

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