Pet anxiety during fireworks

FREEPORT, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Loud bangs and dazzling lights are all fun and games for most humans, but what many people don't realize is the anxiety fireworks bring for our pets.

We spoke with an expert at Alaqua Animal Refuge who said the Fourth of July is one of the worst days for lost pets and the main factor is fireworks.

"Do they like thunder. Are they scared of the thunder? You know, they are going to be scared of fireworks. They get scared. Not only the noise but the vibration of the fireworks," said Alaqua Animal Technician Alissa Parsons. "If that stuff doesn't bother them, you know, they are going to be a little less anxious about it."

Parsons said that's why many pets tend to run away on the Fourth of July.

"Most of the time when the animal is hearing the thunder or the booming from it, if you're going out the door, their natural reaction is to just bolt out the door because they are scared. A lot of dogs that are outside animals, they tend to jump fences because they don't know and they don't have anywhere to go. Even if they have a dog house outside, a lot of times, it doesn't matter they are just in flight mode," Parson explained.

But finding the right way to reduce your pet's stress can help keep them calm so everyone can have a happy celebration.

"You can get thunder jackets. They're in all shapes and sizes. they're actually quite safe on the animal for long durations of time," said Parson. "They also have natural remedies that you can put some calming medicine in their water."

Parsons added creating a safe place in their kennel or in a room can also help reduce their anxiety.

"When you're keeping your dog in a kennel, it's important to remember to keep plenty of food and water and using it as their safe place. So making sure they have a blanket bed, anything. Any toys that they like, something that can just keep them happy and know that this is a safe zone for them and you're not using it for punishment. And so if they get scared or nervous, they can go in there and not have to worry about anything," Parsons said.

She also suggested put on the T.V. or music to help drown out the sounds when they are going off.

"It's an American tradition and it's not ever going to stop. It's not about that," Parson pointed out. "What it's about is making sure that our animals at home are in the safest environment that they can be in."

Parson also said it's not just domestic animals that get frightened during firework shows.

She says many animals in the wild also suffer a lot of the same symptoms, but unfortunately, have no other place to go.

"They're not sure whats going on and it's not only dangerous for our domestic cats and dogs but it's also for wild animals. Cougars and Panthers and bears and things like that. They get just as scared. Even wildlife birds and they've had different animals that have gotten hurt just because of the sounds and its important that we know as we're celebrating the fourth of July and we get excited that the darker it gets and the later it gets, the more damage that we're doing to not only our home pets but also outside animals that are just getting scared," said Parsons.

She asks everyone to just be aware and cautious when celebrating this holiday.