Keep dogs calm on Fourth, vet says |

Keep dogs calm on Fourth, vet says

John Schroyer
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyBefore heading out to celebrate, owners whose dogs are afraid of fireworks can leave the radio on to soothe their pets.

Independence Day is, traditionally, a very explosive celebration. Revelers across the nation mark the birthday of the United States with noisy bottle rockets, cherry bombs, Roman candles, M-80s, and more.Unfortunately, a sizable portion of the U.S. population really, really hates loud noises. As most dog owners can attest, many canines don’t just dislike the Fourth of July. They’re downright terrified of it.”Dogs are just not fond of huge explosive sounds,” said Laurie Raymond, co-owner of High Tails dogsitting service in Glenwood Springs. “They don’t understand it and they’re totally miserable.”Which is one reason that High Tails has extended their hours of service on the Fourth, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.”We always have strays brought to us (on the Fourth of July), because dogs panic and just run,” Raymond said. So, “We thought we’d offer this.”Raymond added that their building is solid concrete, so the dogs they’ll be taking care of will be well-insulated from the disturbing explosions that typically accompany every Fourth of July.”We don’t even hear thunder in here,” said Raymond.But even dogsitters and kennel owners who won’t be open on the Fourth agree dog owners should keep an eye on their pooches that evening.”My recommendation for people who are going to leave their dogs at home is to leave the radio on,” said Ollie Bode, owner of the Alpine Meadow Ranch and Kennel in Basalt. Bode said she’s already booked solid for the Fourth.For residents who live in town, the ideal situation for any dog would be to simply be out of town on the Fourth, said Tracy Yajko, manager of the Colorado Animal Rescue shelter.”The best thing would be to put the dog with a friend who lives a little bit out of town,” she said. If that’s not an option, said Yajko, she advises owners put pets “in a place where it’s kind of secure, and play some music, or turn on the TV.””Distracting noises” are the key, she said.But still, some owners have found that even more drastic measures are necessary.”A lot of people medicate their dogs to take the edge off,” Yajko said.Tranquilizers, however, are a last resort, and should be used only for dogs with proven track records of nervous behavior, said veterinarian Dr. Rocky Mease.”If we see a dog who has a laceration after the Fourth, we’ll suggest (medication),” said Mease.Currently, Mease estimates that he issues anti-anxiety prescriptions for “a couple of dozen dogs.””It makes a huge difference on these dogs, just like it does for people,” he said. “Better living through chemistry.”Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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