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Phantom Fireworks offers tips to calm your dog's fear of fireworks       Send a link to a friend

[June 29, 2007]  YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- It's fireworks season. That means warm nights, barbecues and family fun. Unfortunately, there is often one member of the family that would rather hide under the bed than join in the summer celebration -- your fireworks-fearing dog.

Dr. Dawg explains to a dog owner how to reassure a fearful dog during fireworks season.
(Perry A. McKinley, Phantom Fireworks)

Phantom Fireworks encourages families to enjoy fireworks in a safe and careful manner, and that includes being mindful of your pets. Many dogs become frightened when they hear the loud, unfamiliar sounds of fireworks. They may panic and exhibit undesirable behavior -- scratching at the door, hiding under furniture, soiling the carpet, running away from home or even injuring themselves.

Dr. Dawg, former syndicated pet advice columnist and special consultant to Phantom Fireworks, dug up some advice from veterinarian Aaron Tangeman, D.V.M. The following suggestions could save you and your dog a lot of heartache this summer.

Dr. Dawg: What is it about fireworks that strikes so much fear in our canine companions?

Dr. Tangeman: It's an anxiety issue. Loud noises, like fireworks or thunderstorms, make a lot of dogs nervous. Sometimes it is the result of a bad experience the dog had as a puppy, or it could be caused by an underlying psychological issue.

Dr. Dawg: What advice would you give to dog owners regarding this problem?

Dr. Tangeman: It's OK to comfort your dog when he's upset. In fact, there are specific things you could do to make him more comfortable during a fireworks display. Frightened dogs feel most secure in small, familiar spaces. If you crate your dog, let him lie in his crate during the fireworks display. If not, prepare an enclosed space -- a small, dimly lit room, for example. Leave the radio or TV on to help drown out sounds of the fireworks. Or, if possible, have somebody stay in the room to keep him company.

Dr. Dawg: What if trying to comfort your dog doesn't ease his fear?

Dr. Tangeman: In more severe cases, you should remove your dog from the situation entirely. Make arrangements to take your dog to another location before a fireworks shoot. Take him for a drive, visit a friend or family member, or drop him off at a kennel for the night. This is a sure way to prevent fireworks-related anxiety in your dog. Unfortunately, it's not always possible for everyone.

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Dr. Dawg: Are there any other options?

Dr. Tangeman: Another option is medication; there are numerous types available to relax your dog. If you think medication is necessary, talk to a veterinarian.

Dr. Dawg: Name something a dog owner should never do during fireworks season.

Dr. Tangeman: Never leave your dog outside alone during a fireworks display. There is a chance he will run away from home in order to get away from the noise.

Dr. Dawg: Thank you for teaming up with Phantom Fireworks to share your expertise. Do you have any last-minute advice?

Dr. Tangeman: Yes. If you are planning to shoot fireworks and there are dogs in your neighborhood, it is always a nice courtesy to alert your neighbors so they can take the appropriate precautions for their dogs.

Dr. Dawg, alter ego to Jeff Ondash, is a former syndicated columnist who specialized in pet advice and will soon appear in the upcoming children's book series "Dr. Dawg."

Aaron Tangeman, D.V.M., is a veterinarian at Austintown Veterinary Clinic in Austintown, Ohio. He has been practicing veterinary medicine for nine years.

During its peak season, Phantom Fireworks operates more than 1,200 temporary fireworks sales locations throughout the country. Its award-winning, bilingual online site,, received over 650 million hits last year and could receive as many as 1 billion hits in 2007.

Headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio, Phantom also owns and operates the Diamond Sparkler Manufacturing Co., the lone remaining manufacturer of sparklers in the United States, and the Mahoning Valley Phantoms Junior "A" Hockey Club of the North American Hockey League. Diamond produces up to 800,000 sparklers per day during its peak season.

[Text from Phantom Fireworks news release]

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