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Montana veterinarian: There's help for dogs with fireworks phobia

Dr. Edie Best with Billings Animal Family Hospital says dogs afraid of fireworks can lead to danger, but there’s ways to calm pets down.
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Posted at 10:51 AM, Jun 27, 2024

BILLINGS – As fireworks fly over Billings, pet owners everywhere also brace for bad reactions from pets.

Mandi Smith knows that all too well, as her 13-year-old dog Scooter suffers from a heart condition.

“She’s my soul mate, and she does not like the Fourth of July,” she said.

When the fireworks fly, she notices how Scooter runs and tries to hide.

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“She’ll hid behind the toilet, she’ll try to go somewhere low or dark,” said Smith. “Especially because of her health condition, I am super worried about anything getting her super exerted.”

Billings veterinarian Dr. Edie Best with Billings Animal Family Hospital says dogs afraid of fireworks can lead to danger, but there’s ways to calm pets down.

“A lot of dogs just have this fear of loud noises. It's unexpected. They don’t know where it's coming from,” said Best.

She says what makes us light up during the Fourth of July forces many dogs into danger.

“If they are outside, running away, climbing the fence trying to get away,” she said.

But there’s help, such as calming supplements and medications or compression jackets made especially for pets.

“It just helps them feel secure,” she said.

Best says a little speaker-type device could be the best tool for those firework scares.

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“It’s called 'Through a dog's ears.' It's classical music. It’s been proven to calm dogs," she said, adding the product can be found at online pet retailers.

She says you can play classical music on the device, helping to drown out the loud noise.

But there’s another way to keep pets calm on this holiday.

At the General Mortars fireworks stand in Lockwood, owner Eric Fisher has a kind of firework perfect for loud noise fears: silent fireworks.

“And we know what is silent and what makes noise just because people do want to know,” he said.

As the holiday approaches, flare is already flying over Billings, so Best says do something now.

“Even if they don’t seem to show fear, just for their own well-being,” said Best.

All good advice Smith says will keep Scooter safe.

“When it continues on and on for days, it can get a little unnerving."