Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 12, 2013

1st a crack, then the cry


Tribune staff writer

— If you own a home in Howard County, then you probably have a dog. (Based solely on observation, this part of north central Indiana likely ranks high in dog ownership.)

And if you have a dog, then you’re aware we’re approaching a nightmarish time of year: the Fourth of July. (Americans love the holiday; dogs fear the fireworks.)

The sound of explosions can cause panic in pets. Trembling, whimpering and panting are common. In extreme cases, dogs have been known to jump through glass doors.

Here are a few tips from HomeoPet to keep your animal calm during the upcoming celebrations:

• After accepting an invitation to a party, leave your pet at home and indoors. Most are afraid of fireworks and might try to run away.

• Close all doors and windows and put on background music to muffle the sound of explosions.

• Close curtains and blinds to block flashing lights.

• Ensure your pet is wearing identification tags in case it runs away.

• Try to distract your pet from the fireworks with toys and games.

• If you have the time, try desensitizing your pet with sounds of thunder, fireworks, trains and sirens. Begin with low volumes. As it becomes more comfortable, gradually increase the sound.

According to HomeoPet, a single approach is rarely adequate. Combinations can help modify your pet’s behavior and reduce stress on you and it.

Fireworks are coming. Help your animal get through it with as little fuss as possible.