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June 19, 2007

Purdue vet: Top 10 list for pet owners during fireworks celebrations

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Fireworks during Fourth of July celebrations can be frightening for pets, but a Purdue veterinarian says there are ways to avoid reactions that can cause injury to themselves or others. 

"Owners need to use common sense when letting their pet join in the festivities," says Lorriane Corriveau, wellness veterinarian at Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine," "Some dogs love to chase those spinning and swirling objects on the ground. Others are traumatized by loud noises. Owners can help with tricks that can be as simple as putting cotton in their pet's ears to muffle the sound."

Corriveau offers these other tips for lowering the noise stress on pets during the holiday: 

1)      Never leave pets alone outdoors, even if tethered or in a fenced yard. Dogs, especially, may escape and become lost or injure themselves by chewing or choking on their leashes. Keep small pets sheltered indoors and horses in their stalls.

2)      Make sure all sharp objects are removed from enclosures.

3)      Turn on the radio or TV for distraction.

4)      Do not take a pet to fireworks shows.

5)      Do not leave a pet in a car unattended.

6)      Keep pet on a leash or in a carrier if they must be outside.

7)      Protect animals from children who may not realize that waving sparklers or setting off "safe" firecrackers could upset a family pet.

8)      Keep I.D. tags current so the pet and owner can be reunited if loud noises cause it to run away.

9)      Sedate horses and some dogs if needed. Noise phobia can get worse as a pet ages. A veterinarian can advise about giving the pet a mild sedative or tranquilizer to calm the fears of an extremely stressed dog, cat or horse.

10)      Pick up leftover sparklers and other sharp objects when the night of festivities is over.

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432, maggiemorris@purdue.edu

Source: Lorraine Corriveau, (765) 494-1107, corrivea@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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