For the love of you pet: Take precautions with pets at parties

By John Beck
Dec. 27, 2012 at 6:27 a.m.

We are putting on a big bash at our house for New Year's Eve. There will be fireworks and a lot of guests. My dogs always throw a fit and run amuck during the chaos, what can I do?

Celebrations can be a lot of fun for your two-legged and four-legged family. Fireworks can often be something we can't wait to see but can drive our pets crazy. If we think the fireworks are loud they have to be extremely loud to our pets whose hearing is much, much better than ours. The popping and banging can drive our pets to running around in a panic and hiding under furniture or acting frantic. The best thing to do is place your pet in its safe place.

If your pet has a crate or a certain room of the house that they are accustom to staying, that is the place for them to be during the events. If your pet is in their safe place and still frantic, you might consider giving them Benadryl or a sedative prescribed by your veterinarian. Call your veterinarian to find out what the dose of Benadryl would be or if they suggest something a little stronger.

You need to give these medications approximately 30 minutes to one hour before the fireworks begin. Many dogs that are afraid of thunder also exhibit problems during the fireworks. Thunder shirts (shirts that zip tightly around your dog's chest like a wet suit) might also be a good option. These shirts provide a secure feeling to some dogs, like swaddling a baby in a blanket. Also, don't forget to pick up any shreds, tubing or paper associated with your fireworks. Pets will sometimes be tempted to eat these, which can cause upset stomach or bowel obstructions

Fireworks aren't the only hazard to watch during the parties and celebrations. Barbecue and alcohol sure tastes good to us but can be harmful to our pets. Switching diets or adding high-fat meats that your pet is unaccustomed to getting can cause some major gastric upset and even problems with the pet's liver or pancreas.

Symptoms can range from a simple loose stool all the way up to severe dehydration caused by blowout vomiting and diarrhea. Watch where you leave your plates and watch where the trash is being thrown out. Make sure your pets are not able to get into either one. Also, ask guests not to give into those pleading eyes and feed your pets off of their plates.

Hope your celebration is a safe one for your guests and pets. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me. Happy New Year.

Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at



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