Fireworks: Fun for people, scary for pets

Many of you are celebrating Independence Day with fireworks. And while they're fun for people, they can cause extreme anxiety in your pets.

Many dogs and cats find the loud noises and lights disturbing. Animal experts say some will do whatever it takes to get away from the noise.

This is one of the busiest times of year for animal control officers, who take in several animals that ran away after being spooked.

If your pet does get away during the Fourth of July, you report it missing here: Wichita Animal Shelter Website

Here are some quick tips to help from the Wichita Animal Control Office:

-If you can, bring outdoor pets inside to a quiet area of the home until the activity has subsided.

-If the animal is properly crate or kennel trained, they look at that space as a safe haven or “den”. Have the animal rest in their crate or kennel and place heavy blankets over it to darken the space and create a quiet safe sanctuary until it’s more bearable for the animal.

-If inside confinement is not feasible, make sure escape routes are secured and take extra precautions around gates and doorways so an opportunistic pet doesn’t dart out.

-Spend ample time with the animal playing prior to the celebrations and feed it well. A tired pet with a full belly is usually less active and less prone to stress, and may even nap right through.

-Once the noises begin, if the animal begins to act anxious, comfort it. Pet it and talk to it in reassuring tones. Pets look to us for “help” in anxious situations. Doing your best to let the animal know “it will be O.K.” will sometimes lessen their anxiety.

-Pet supply stores offer anti-anxiety devices such as special wraps that mimic the soothing effect some dogs get from being held to help reduce the anxiety and stress the noises from fireworks causes (These devices may help with a pet that is sensitive to thunderstorms too).

-In extreme cases your veterinarian may be able to prescribe anti-anxiety medications to your pet to help get your companion through the rough spots.