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Fireworks and Fido Don't Always Mix
Date:7/1/2011

mporary sanctuary. No basement? Put your pet in a room farthest from the celebration with a cushy bed and plenty of toys. Close the blinds to block out flashes of light.

Some owners try comforting their frazzled pooches by holding or petting them, but researchers at Pennsylvania State University found it had no impact in lowering stress levels in storm-phobic dogs. What did work was the presence of a canine buddy or two around the house.

That's what calms Azella, a normally confident 8-year-old husky mix who panics when she hears gun shots, thunder, fireworks or high-pitched beeping from a smoke detector.

"If she could jump up in my arms like Shaggy and Scooby -- she would," said Azella's owner, Christina Bournias of St. Clair Shores, Mich. "In fact, she's come close."

Bournias has tried soothing her jittery pet with massages, kind words and big hugs. But what's helped Azella most is the company of a canine friend named Devlin. The husky's best buddy helps keep her calm as the explosions go off in the neighborhood for days, sometimes weeks, before and after Independence Day.

"His innocence and playfulness is seemingly therapeutic," she said.

More information

There's more on dog psychology and behavior at the ASPCA.

SOURCES: Sophia Yin, D.V.M., M.S., veterinary behaviorist, San Francisco; Bonnie Beaver, D.V.M., M.S., veterinary behaviorist and professor, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; Christina Bournias, St. Clair Shores, Mich.


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