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June 24, 2011 > Veterinary & Pet News: Independence Day, Pets and Fireworks

Veterinary & Pet News: Independence Day, Pets and Fireworks

Independence Day is a special time to celebrate our country and the opportunities it brings. We are blessed to live in this country and fortunate to enjoy the benefits it provides. Our country is experiencing historic changes and a new vision is being created for the future of the United States. There is no time greater to celebrate our love for the United States, then the Fourth of July.

The love of animals has been a part of the United States starting from our forefathers. Ranging from George Washington to Barrack Obama, many pets have lived in the White House.

In fact, George Washington owned 36 hounds, many horses, and a parrot named Polly. John Quincy Adams had a pet alligator. Yikes!! The love of animals is as American as Independence Day itself.

Americans love fireworks and the festivities of the Fourth of July. Everyone loves the fun. However, our pets may not have the same appreciation of these patriotic displays.

Dogs, cats, horses, and even livestock can react to fireworks in ways that could cause injury or even death. Fear of noises and sounds like fireworks and thunderstorms are known as "noise phobias".

I strongly recommend the following safeguards to protect your pet:

1. During the upcoming celebrations, keep small pets indoors. A good idea is to keep the pet in an interior room without windows. Create a sanctuary for your pet. Turn on the TV or radio to provide some distraction.

2. Never leave pets alone outdoors, even if tethered or in a fenced yard. It is not uncommon for dogs to escape or injure themselves in a frenzied attempt to escape. Many animal shelters report increases of "stray" animal intakes after the 4th of July holiday due to the number of pets running away in an attempt to avoid the noise and excitement.

3. If you are planning on attending a fireworks celebration, leave your pet at home. If you MUST be outside with your pet, be sure to have the pet constrained on a lead or kept in a carrier.

4. Some pets may become "fearfully aggressive" due to the loud noises. Protect your pets from children who may not realize the consequences of waving sparklers or setting off home fireworks.

5. Be sure that your pet has microchip or a current ID tag so that you and your pet can be easily reunited in the case he or she runs off.

6. If your pet is afraid of loud noises like thunder, fireworks will be a big problem for your pet. Consult your veterinarian ahead of time and pickup some tranquilizers to lower your pet's anxiety level.

Hopefully, everyone will be safe and comfortable and may our pets be spared any harm. Happy Fourth of July to everyone!

Dr Raj Salwan is a second generation Veterinarian and has been around Veterinary Medicine for over 23 years. His interests include Internal Medicine, Surgery, Emergency/Acute Care, and general small animal practice. He currently works at American Animal Care in Fremont and can be reached via email at or

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