• The Star Staff

Seven suggestions on protecting pets from fireworks

By John McPhaul


The noise of fireworks has terrible effects on pets, to the point that many die from heart attacks or wounds and blows while trying to flee, so we should keep them in safe and isolated spaces during the holiday season, in which unfortunately the use of pyrotechnics has increased, said Dellymar Bernal Martínez, president of the San Francisco de Asís Animal Sanctuary (SASFAPR by its Spanish initials) in Cabo Rojo.

“When that noise starts, our pets suffer from [heart] palpitations, panic, lack of air, nausea and they feel like they are going to die. Amid their despair, many escape, injure themselves or are run over in the street, and, in the case of older animals or those with heart conditions, many have a heart attack and die,” Bernal Martínez said. “Those detonations affect animals so much because their sense of hearing is so much more sensitive than ours.”

Despite the fact that they are illegal and harmful to the environment and health, many people set off fireworks during the holiday season. To avoid this, ideally, authorities should enforce laws that prohibit and/or regulate the use of fireworks so that neither humans nor animals have to suffer from noise and smoke, Bernal Martínez pointed out.

But, given the current reality, SASFAPR is sharing some recommendations so that pet owners can help alleviate the terror that the situation causes for their pets. They include:

1. Never leave pets outside or tied up -- Never leave your pets tied up or outside the home during a fireworks episode.

2. Safe space -- The most important thing is to identify an area of the house that you can prepare to keep your pet protected during pyrotechnics. This space must be closed -- or with closed windows -- so that you can isolate your pet from noise. You can put on soft and relaxing music.

3. Prescription drugs -- If you already know that your pet is sensitive to noise, check with your vet about possible medications that might be prescribed. Do it with time so that you can get what you need and calmly clarify all your doubts.

4. Natural supplements -- Also consult with your veterinarian about the possibility of using natural supplements that help your pet relax. And if you opt for this alternative, you must test the product with your pet under normal circumstances so that you can see the effect it has and explore different options if necessary.

5. Pheromones -- There are pheromone diffusers for dogs and cats -- which plug into a wall socket -- as well as sprays and collars with soothing infusions. Some are effective and you can buy them at pet supply stores.

6. T-shirts for anxiety -- In pet stores you can find fabric T-shirts for dogs and cats that simulate a tight hug.

7. Veterinarian -- Always remember to consult with your veterinarian, who has specialized knowledge and can help you choose the best alternative depending on the age and health of your pet.

“Our dogs and cats give us their love and make our lives happier and complete,” Bernal Martínez said. “It is up to us to reciprocate that fidelity, looking for the best alternatives so that they too can have a safe and happy holiday season.”

SASFAPR is a non-profit organization dedicated to animal welfare that does not euthanize -- it is a “no-kill shelter” -- and currently houses some 100 dogs and cats.

For more information about the organization you can visit their networks social: Twitter (@SASFAPR), Fanpage on Facebook (Sanctuary of Animals San Francisco de Asís Inc. / @sasfapr), Instagram (santuario.sasfapr), or visit their page web (www.sasfapr.org). You can also write to info@sasfapr.org or send text messages to 787-612-8587.

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