Retired K9 triggered by fireworks after years of training

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Fireworks can easily scare animals of all shapes and sizes. Experts say explosive sounds and lights can trigger an animal’s greatest fear, causing some of their owners to flee.

Pets can become riddled with anxiety and fear every 4th of July, especially for a retired K9, Cliff, who is trained to listen to familiar sounds. It’s almost impossible for him to ignore the booms.

“Any kind of gunshot type noise or something loud like that can uh, he’s trained to be bothered by that,” said Rockford Station No. 2 trainee firefighter Katy Metzler.

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

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

Auburn Clinic owner and veterinarian Patricia Joholm says most pets are afraid of loud sounds and it’s crucial that you are aware of your pet’s feelings.

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

Joholm says a surefire way to calm pets is to buy a pheromone spray that replicates a mother’s comforting scent, or a Thunder shirt that swaddles the pet for a comfortable, relaxed feel.

Also, if you plan to leave the house for fireworks, make sure your pet has a safe place to retreat to in your home. Putting on a noisy television or other distractions might help drown out the booms.

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