Independence Day celebrations can be very stressful for pets. Unfamiliar loud firework or celebratory noises can result in anxious or panicky behavior in dogs and cats. This can include vocalization, shaking, pacing, panting, cowering, hiding, drooling, or uncontrolled elimination. Many pets will attempt to escape or run away when they are startled. Cats and dogs with access to the outdoors are particularly at risk for getting lost.

One of the simplest and most important Independence Day celebration precautions you can make is to ensure that your pets are confined in a safe environment. Do not leave dogs unattended outdoors or with access to the outdoors even if your yard appears secure. Proper crate-training is particularly helpful when assisting dogs through times of commotion or stress. Thundershirts are anti-anxiety vests that can also help some dogs cope with stress. Cats who are outdoors should be confined a few days before the holiday since celebrations can occur early and you cannot reliably confine them in a moment's notice. Feliway calming pheromone products can be purchased at our hospital and help promote a sense of safety and security in the environment for cats.

For some pets, additional behavioral therapy in the form of oral medication and/or professional training can be extremely helpful. Zylkene is a balanced behavior supplement for dogs and cats containing a unique, milk-derived ingredient that promotes calmness. It can relax your pet without causing sedation or drowsiness. Administration should begin at least a few days before the anticipated celebrations. This medication is also appropriate and safe for behavioral issues for long-term environmental change concerns. Professional canine behavior therapy can help desensitize your dog and reduce the risk of problems. Click here for contact information for a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant. Finally, sedative medication may be appropriate for pets with significant anxiety. Please note, this medication does require recent examination and additional health screening may be recommended depending upon the age and status of your pet. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet's behavior or anxiety.

As a reminder, Moorpark fireworks occur on July 3rd at 9 pm.