Retired K9 triggered by fireworks after years of training

Loud booms can frighten a pet, and their safety is any owners biggest concern.
23 News on Sundays
Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 6:14 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Fireworks can easily startle pets of all shapes and sizes. Experts say the explosive sounds and lights can trigger an animal’s biggest fear, causing some to bolt from their owners.

Pets can become riddled with anxiety and fear every Fourth of July, especially for one retired K9, Cliff, who’s trained to listen for familiar sounds. It is nearly impossible for him to ignore the booms.

“Any kind of gunshot type noise or anything loud like that can um, he’s trained to be bothered by it,” said Katy Metzler, who is Rockford Station #2 probationary firefighter.

Much like a thunder buddy, Cliff needs a sleeping buddy when he hears fireworks.

“We try to turn on music or noise or sleep on the couch with him, but just kind of minimal noise is nice for him,” said Metzler.

Auburn Clinic owner and veterinarian, Patricia Joholm, says most animals are scared of loud sounds and it’s crucial you’re aware of your pet’s feelings.

“These are sounds that they usually don’t hear everyday in their everyday world, and dogs and animals are so much more sensitive to sound and vibrations and feelings than us humans are,” said Joholm, “If you’re in the neighborhood and you’re going to be shooting off fireworks, please think about everyone’s pets that might be terrified.”

Joholm says a safe way to calm pet’s is buying a pheromone spray that replicates a mother’s comforting smell, or a Thunder Shirt that swaddles the animal for a snug and relaxed feel.

Plus, if you plan to leave the house for fireworks to make sure your pet has a safe place to retreat to in your home. Putting on a loud TV or other distractions could help drown out the booms.

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