Dangers of Mushrooms

By Educational, Guides

Dangers of Mushrooms

Edible mushrooms or mushrooms that are non-toxic to humans are generally also non-toxic to pets. However, some can cause gastrointestinal upset or even symptoms of poisoning. This is because dogs and cats don’t digest food the same way as humans. For that reason it is recommended not to give your pet any mushrooms. Even more important is to prevent your pet from eating wild mushrooms. Just like humans, dogs and cats are not particularly good in distinguishing between toxic and non-toxic species which puts them at risk of potentially dangerous mushroom poisoning.

The Risk of Mushroom Poisoning in Pets

Unfortunately, mushroom poisoning in pets is not uncommon. This is especially true for dogs although cats are also attracted by the fishy odor that is produced by some of the most toxic mushrooms. In comparison to cats, dogs usually spend more time in areas where they are more likely to encounter mushrooms, both toxic and non-toxic species.

Signs and Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning in Pets

Signs and symptoms of mushroom poisoning in pets depend greatly on the species that was ingested, the quantity that was eaten and some other factors such as the pet’s overall health. Obviously, symptoms are more severe if the ingested mushroom is very toxic. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to tell the difference between toxic and non-toxic mushrooms, let alone determine the toxicity level. Since the most toxic species can be lethal, any mushroom should be treated as dangerous.

The most common signs and symptoms of mushroom poisoning in pets include gastrointestinal upset including abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Species with higher toxicity may also cause extreme drooling, watery eyes, weakness, lethargy, seizures and coma. Especially dangerous are mushrooms from the so-called category A which can lead to liver and kidney failure. Pets that ingested hallucinogenic mushrooms may develop hallucinations which can manifest themselves in restlessness, uncoordinated movement, depression and unresponsiveness.

Treatment of Mushroom Poisoning in Pets

To reduce the risk of potentially fatal complications, mushroom poisoning in pets requires immediate treatment involving removal and/or neutralization of the toxins. This is achieved by inducing vomiting and if necessary, using activated charcoal to get rid of any toxins remaining in the gastrointestinal tract. Only then treatment of mushroom poisoning focuses on treating/relieving the symptoms.

With treatment, death or lasting complications due to ingestion of toxic mushrooms are rare. However, it is crucial for the pet to receive treatment as soon as possible. Also, it is recommended to pick a sample of the mushroom that was ingested or is suspected to be ingested and take it to the vet.

The easiest way to prevent mushroom poisoning in pets is to reduce the risk of exposure to potentially toxic mushrooms. To do that, inspect your backyard or garden for mushrooms and remove them immediately. Not all mushrooms are toxic, however, it is best not to take any chances, especially if you’re not sure if they are dangerous or not. Also, choose your walking routes carefully and avoid areas where mushrooms might thrive, especially moist wooded areas.

How to train pets for a Fear-Free veterinary experience

By Educational, Guides

How to train pets for a Fear-Free veterinary experience

 Fear-Free veterinary visits start before the dog trots through your front door. Pet owners can help by training these three behaviors to make the exam a less stressful experience.

wait and train


Bella and Buckley should have good doggy manners, and doggy parents just love showing off their precocious pooch’s amazing abilities to sit, wait, jump through hoops and and rollover on command. But do your clients know that training also boosts their pooch’s positive emotional state? Even better, a relaxed pup might just be more willing to do what you need her to do in the exam room. Sound too good to be true? It just takes a little training.

Veterinary visits are naturally frightening for many dogs because of the invasive nature of the work. When dogs feel uncomfortable or scared, they may freeze—and many progress to struggling, fleeing or fighting to get away. When the pooch panics this increases the risk of injury to the dog—and to your veterinary team—and may lead to pronounced fear during future veterinary visits.

Even the more laid back canines may have unique challenges if you’re handling them in a sensitive area or they dislike a certain procedure, like nail trims. Or they may need guidance in tasks like remaining calmly in place on the scale and during an exam.

Training allows the pet owner to share a form of communication and cooperation with their dog. When dogs can willingly participate in their care, they are more relaxed and easy to handle during their visit. It also helps you refocus the dog when you need to either distract during handling or procedures and to help pups calm down when they’re feeling upset.

Training is highly individualized, but every dog can benefit from learning three foundational behaviors for less stressful veterinary visits. Read on for three training tips and client handouts to educate pet owners.

Training tip 1: Down stay on a mat

down stay pic

How to train

1. Start by tossing treats to get your dog interested in the mat area. When she puts any paw on the mat, mark with a word like “yes” or a click, and then toss a treat onto the mat.

2. Over time, work to get the dog into a down position. Either ask for the down once she’s on the mat or wait for it to naturally happen and place treats onto the mat when she does.

3. Eventually add a cue like “mat” to the behavior when your dog reliably goes to lie down in the space. Reward your dog intermittently for resting on her mat so she never anticipates how long it will be. Gradually build up distractions and duration.

How it helps

The mat serves as a security blanket, going along with your dog from the home, to the car, to a waiting area and into the exam. The mat gives your dog a designated area to rest instead of pacing restlessly.

Quick tip: Choose the right mat

The best mats are those with an anti-slip bottom to prevent slipping on slick surfaces. You can place the mat on he floor, scale and exam table to provide a familiar and comfortable space for your dog when she’s weighed and examined.

Training tip 2: Hand target

hand target pic

How to train

1. Place your hand gently out a few inches from your dog’s nose. If she makes any movement towards the hand, mark with a word like “yes” or a click, and reward.

2. If your dog is uninterested, start with a peanut butter approved by your veterinarian or spreadable treat on your hand. Then, once she’s interested in the hand, remove the smeared treat. Add in a word like “touch” and say it just as your dog touches her nose to your hand.

3. Work with your dog until she’s able to follow your hand further distances and onto and off of things. Practice the behavior with other people so your dog gets used to touching other people’s hands as well.

How it helps

Hand targeting prepares your dog to willingly move towards, away from and on or off of objects and directs her focus. Then you can ask your dog to target to get her out of the car or onto the exam table. The hand target also provides a familiar way for your dog to first greet and interact with new people, such as members of the veterinary team. If your dog is distracted by something, such as another dog in the waiting room, the hand target allows for you to help refocus their attention and to get her willingly turn to face you.

Bonus: Training your pet to hand target can also boost her confidence with novel or seemingly threatening objects. If your dog is afraid of the stethoscope, you can use the hand target to get your dog to willingly approach the instrument and investigate it at her own pace. This makes the novel object more of a familiar part of a game she knows how to play rather than something she fears.

Training tip 3: Wait

wait pic

How to train

1. Start with your dog in a sit or a down—even four paws firmly planted on the ground will do. Say the word “wait” and make a small movement, like a foot shift or glance away. If your dog stays in position, offer a reward. Mark with a word, like “yes,” or a click when your dog remains in place during distractions.

2. If your dog breaks the “wait” make it easier the next time with less distraction.

3. Slowly build up until your dog can remain in place even while distractions happen. For example, you can lower the food bowl or open a door.

4. Work up to adding in petting and handling your dog’s body parts as your dog stays relaxed. Reward her for letting the handling and touch occur and for remaining in a stationary position.

5. Build in a release cue by saying a word like “OK” to let her know the exercise is finished.

How it helps

This behavior teaches your dog to remain in place until she’s released. Your dog may feel frightened if veterinary team members handle her body and she isn’t sure why they’re touching her or what to do about it. But if your dog has been trained to remain in place and knows a reward is coming, she may stay calmer. You can also use wait in combination with prior handling and associated rewards to help your dog remain calm when she’s handled in myriad ways.

Bonus: During the exam you can ask your dog to wait while the veterinarian examines each body part or performs each procedure. Then you can release and reward your dog afterward.

There are many benefits of training the “wait” behavior. For example, it can help you get your dog to remain on the exam table rather than jumping or help your dog remain calmly on her side for handling until you release her.

Preventing Dog Bites: A Guide for Safer Interactions

By Educational, Guides

An important part of dog bite prevention in recognizing the behaviors that signal Fido is uncomfortable.  Stephan Appelbaum, ABCDT, president and CEO of Animal Behavior College, shares things to keep in mind when introducing your dog to new situations.


Why might a dog bite

Dogs bite for numerous reasons.  These include fear, pain, dominance and territoriality, both learned and predatory.  Probably the most common reason is fear.  Usually the dog displays plenty of warning signs to the person, growling, trying to escape, and and so on.  People don’t always understand the language, or ignore or minimize the signs.  If there are no other options, the dog, depending on the situation, will bite.

What should you keep in mind when introducing your dog to new situations and people

It depends on the dog.  For most dogs,  it’s a matter of letting them slowly adjust and get used to the new situation.  Most dogs are social and like to interact with new people.  However, gradual introductions are the best.  Dogs are very receptive to friendly people who that greet them using slow easy movements along with praise.

What body language should you look for that signals your dog is uncomfortable-especially around children

You should look for fear indicators.  These include the dog’s ears being held back, tail is tucked, attempts to run away to escape (not play), hackles raised, growling, whining, barking and snapping.  The challenge with children is they like to grab and hold.  Many dogs find this threatening and will thrash wildly to escape.  If the dog exhibits these responses, talk with the children about safe interaction and talk to your veterinarian or a dog trainer about training the dog.  Dominate challenging behaviors can also be an issue.  Dogs that become possessive of objects, food or places – like a bed or couch- need to be trained and watched.  Possessiveness usually manifests itself when the dog believes your’e going to take away objects or encroach on his space.  You can stop this behavior, but remember that it takes time and proper training.  fear agression under bed

What should you do after recognizing these signals

Aggression challenging because there isn’t much leeway for error.  However, if you notice any of the body language that signals the dog is uncomfortable, stop the children’s behavior that stimulated the response and contact a professional trainer, behaviorist of veterinarian right away.

What’s a no-no when it comes to having dogs and children in the same space

Dogs need some space to relax without having constant stimulation and intrusions.  A safe spot such as a crate or large dog bed where the kids are taught to leave the dog alone is a good start.

dog bed

Lack of Mobility May Mean Less Time With Your Pet

By Educational, Guides

Here are five ways to improve your senior pet’s health-and maybe even his life expectancy-by helping him get back to the things he used to do.

Take your pet to the veterinarian for for a physical exam.

Find out if he has any medical conditions that might affect a workout routine, such as arthritis, a heart condition or respiratory issues.

If your pet is overweight, work with your veterinarian to form a diet plan that is palatable, keeps your pet satiated and still allows for occasional treats.  Weight loss reduces excess strain on joints and weakens muscles, which may reduce pain.

Slow and steady wins this race.

Start your senior pet with five minutes of walking, adding an additional five minutes each day for five days until a daily 30 minute walk is manageable and routine.

If your pet is limping, lagging, panting excessively or refuses to continue, stop the activity and check with your veterinarian.  Some pets may require pain medication to get moving or to complete an exercise.

Once you and your pet have achieved a daily exercise routine, you can step it up.

Increase duration, speed, even incorporate hills or different surfaces like sand to add more challenge.  Walks will become easier as your pet becomes stronger.

If your pet can’t jump onto the couch or climb the stairs well these days, it’s likely because, like many older dogs, he has lost strength in his hind legs.  Focus on building back those muscles with exercises recommended by your veterinarian.

Senior pets need to exercise their minds as well as their bodies.

Obstacles courses can be a fun way to stimulate your pet’s mind and improve neurological and muscle control.

If you use simple household objects, you can stimulate your pet’s mind with physical games.  For example, coax your pet to step over a garden hose fashioned in a serpent pattern in the backyard-broom handles or pool noodles also work well.  For pets already at a food fitness level, try rally events, agility classes, tracking or field events.

Discomfort and a lack of strength and flexibility may make achieving mobility seem like an insurmountable task.

But don’t give up!  Exercise can be tailored to fit the needs of any pet and will not only improve your pet’s  health but strengthen the bond you share with your pet as well.

If physical injuries prevent your pet from exercising, ask your veterinarian about rehabilitation.  Rehab specialist can use methods such as joint mobilization, massage, stretching, laser therapy and acupuncture to help get your pet up and moving again.

Source: Dr. Kara Amstutz



Dr. Google

By Educational, Guides


When you’re searching the web for medical information about your pet, make sure you’re getting accurate medical information from reliable sources. Use these six tips for safer web surfing.

  1. Make sure the advice comes from a veterinarian. Writers can contribute fun and entertaining animal information, but for medical material, you want to be sure the author is a licensed practicing veterinarian.
  2. Check more than one source. When you read a piece of advice, even if it seems legitimate, find similar information from other veterinarians. You’ll find the best and most valuable information on many veterinarians’ websites. High-quality information often features citations of original studies or other articles.
  3. Keep it classy. Professionals don’t disparage other people. If there’s new and groundbreaking information, professionals will present the new facts in a way that doesn’t make anyone seem wrong. Be skeptical of any advice that tells you your veterinarian is doing something to hurt your pet.
  4. Beware of catchy captions and information that feels like a tabloid headline. If the information seems incredible, listen to the alarm bells that sound in your mind.
  5. Remember there no checks and balances on the World Wide Web. Information on the Internet often isn’t peer-reviewed or run through any approval process, but veterinarians are bound to uphold professional standards and have reputations at stake. They are less likely to jeopardize their medical licenses by spreading untrue rumors or recommending unneeded services.
  6. Phone a friend—as long as that friend is your own veterinarian. If you have a question about something that you read on the Internet, always ask your own veterinarian. Your veterinary team is happy to explain why we make the recommendations we make, and we’re able to make suggestions specific to your pet.

How to Create Low-Stress Veterinary Visits for Cats

By Educational, Guides, Uncategorized


The ominous hissing, the mournful meows, the defensive scratching or biting, the upset bowels-feline stress is just plain unpleasant for cats and you.  Many cats get stressed when it’s time for a veterinary visit.  Thankfully, there are ways to help cats relax and enjoy the ride-yes even in the car.  Here’s what you can do.

 Transport your cat in a carrier

Putting cats in a carrier on the way to and from the veterinary clinic is extremely important.  Cats are often startled by loud noises or other pets, and if you’re carrying your cat in your hands, you might not be able to hold on if it abruptly tries to get away. Also, cats that are allowed to roam freely inside the car face the risk of more severe injury should there be an accident.

Choose a hard-plastic carrier with a removable top

Some cats might resist being put into a carrier.  But removable tops make getting cats into-and out of-the carrier easier.  Simply undo the screws or latches, lift off the top, set the cat in the bottom, and replace the top.  This eliminates the need to force the cat inside, which makes the cat-and you-more relaxed.

Make the carrier a favorite place

Some cats come to love their carriers.  When cats see their carriers as safe, enjoyable places, they’re happy to go into them and feel more safe in scary places, like the car.  Use these strategies to create crate fondness in your cat:

  • Leave the carrier out in your house so your cat can access it at any time.
  • Make the carrier inviting by putting a favorite blanket or toy in it.
  • Every now and then, lay a few treats inside the carrier.

Head to the veterinary clinic for “happy visits”

Does your cat seem to bristle at the thought of visiting the veterinarian?  Then take it on a few stress -free trial runs.  Call the veterinary clinic to ask if the schedule would allow you and your cat to stop in for five or 10 minutes.  You won’t be making a medical visit, but rather a mock appointment that allows your cat to experience all the steps of a routing visit without the physical examination.  This free-of-charge “happy visit” gives your cat the chance to get used to the sounds and smells of the clinic, meet the veterinary team members, and eat a few treats all while enjoying the safety of its carrier.  After some canoodling, you and your cat will head back home.

If a car ride alone puts your cat in a tailspin, entice your cat into its carrier and start by going for a test drive around the block.  Continue to take a drive every now and then, gradually increasing the amount of time you and your cat spend in the car.  Remember to reward your cat with a treat for being a good passenger.  Eventually, you’ll work your way up to doing a drive that will allow you and your cat to make a “happy visit.” Positive reinforcement is the best way to modify feline behavior, so making car rides and veterinary visits pleasant will help decrease your cat’s anxiety.

Your cat threw up? No, it's not normal!

By Guides, Health, Uncategorized

cat grass

Hairballs are normal, yes, but chances are that’s NOT what’s making your car wretch.

Vomiting is a common and frequently complex problem in cats.  According to Gary Norsworthy, DVM, DABVP (feline practice), the greatest of all feline myths is that vomiting is normal.  It’s not.

If one of your human family members seemed healthy but was vomiting twice a week-or twice a day-would we accept it as normal?  Give up on these excuses:

  • He eats too fast.
  • She has a sensitive stomach.
  • They’re just hairballs, and they are normal.
  • That’s just the way her is; he’s a puker.

Signs of Disease

Gastrointestinal diseases, renal failure, inflammatory or other liver diseases, pancreatitis and even lymphoma can cause chronic vomiting.  Don’t wish away vomiting as probably a hairball-get it checked out by your veterinarian.

Sign of Poisoning

Vomiting that isn’t chronic could be caused by poisoning.  The following substances are the most common household toxins for cats.

  • Plants: Autumn crocus, azalea, cyclamen, kalanchoe, lilies, oleander, dieffenbachia, daffodils, lily of the valley, sago palm, tulips, hyacinths, poinsettias, and amaryllis to name a few.
  • Over the counter medications: Including aspirin, acetaminophen, Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Kaopectate, Pepto- Bismol
  • Prescription drugs: Including antidepressant drugs, such as Prozac, Pacil, Celexa and Effexor.
  • Dietary Supplements and vitamins
  • Human food: Onions for example
  • Household cleaners: Drain cleaners, concentrated dishwashing chemicals (including dishwasher tabs), lime-removal products,, oven cleaners and concentrated toilet cleaners pose the biggest threat.
  • Topical flea/tick treatments, flea shampoo and collars: (If your purchase from a veterinary hospital, they are guaranteed!)
  • Essential oils: Often found in potpourri
  • Insecticides and rodenticides

If you fear your cat has ingested a toxin, remove your cat form the area, check to make sure your cat is breathing and acting normally, do not give any home antidotes, do not induce vomiting with consulting a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline, and call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855)764-7661.  If veterinary attention is needed go to your veterinarian.

Pet Teeth Cleaning Under Anesthesia – Pros and Cons

By Educational, Guides, Health

Pet Teeth Cleaning Under Anesthesia – Pros and Cons

Like most of us, our pets are not exactly thrilled about a dental either. First, it is very uncomfortable and second, they don’t know that it’s for their own good. Without anesthesia, it is thus virtually impossible to clean dogs’ and cats’ teeth.  At least not as thoroughly as necessary.

The Benefits of Anesthesia Outweigh the Risks

Anesthesia always poses some risk of complications and it’s completely normal to be concerned about your pet’s safety. However, the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) and the majority of veterinarians agree that its benefits far outweigh the risks.

Pros of pet teeth cleaning under anesthesia include:

– Thorough removal of dental plaque and tartar. Even though the so-called anesthesia-free dental cleaning claims to be just as effective (but a lot safer and less expensive), it isn’t really an alternative to dental cleaning under anesthesia. What is more, it can cause more harm than good. The thing is that it’s impossible to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar if the animal is not anesthetized. This is especially true for the area below the gum line where plaque is causing the greatest harm. Your pet’s mouth may appear clean but it’s not clean.

– Less stress and discomfort for the animal. No dog or cat will allow teeth cleaning without anesthesia unless being physically restrained. Besides the stress due to prolonged restriction, an animal that is not anesthetized may also experience severe psychological stress because they don’t understand what is going on. The last but not the least important, dental cleaning can be very uncomfortable and even painful. Anesthesia eliminates most of the stress and makes teeth cleaning a completely painless procedure.

– Less expensive in the long term. Although anesthesia-free dental cleaning is supposed to be less expensive, in the long term, it can cost you much more than having your pet anesthetized. This is because in anesthesia-free dental cleaning, the bacteria that cause periodontal disease are not removed from below the gum line. As a result, the disease can quickly spread to the tooth root or in the bone which can be very expensive to treat. Also, without anesthesia, the veterinarian can’t make a thorough exam of the mouth, throat and tongue or perform other dental procedures.

The Cons? The Risk of Complications Albeit Extremely Low

Unfortunately, anesthesia isn’t entirely risk free. The good news is that complications are extremely rare. To reduce the risk of complications to the minimum and ensure that anesthesia doesn’t pose a health threat to the animal, every pet is examined and evaluated for their health status and physical condition before being anesthetized. Also, the progress of veterinary medicine including anesthesia in the recent years further reduced the risk of complications. Nevertheless, it is of utmost importance to understand both the benefits and risks of pet teeth cleaning under anesthesia. Here at Rocklin Road Animal Hospital we have a technician who’s only job is to monitor the patient while then are under for the procedure. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian.

It’s National Walk Your Pet Month!

By Guides, Health

dog-walkIt’s National Walk Your Pet Month!

What better time for you and your pooch to get moving!

Here are ten reasons why walking your dog is beneficial:

  1. Provides an outlet for their energy. Dogs build up a certain amount of energy every day that needs to be expended. If it doesn’t happen through walking, it will often result in bad, destructive behavior or separation anxiety.


  1. Walking aids greatly in training your dog. Draining energy results in a calmer, satisfied and more submissive dog who is much more likely to focus on you and your training. The walk itself should be a time of training. Done correctly, it can reinforce the bond between you and your dog and will help to establish you as the pack leader.


  1. Fulfills his natural roaming and exploring instincts. In nature dogs walk as a pack and roam for miles every day searching for food and water. Even though your dog is not a wild dog, walking is still in their natural instinct. Dogs are working, thinking animals that need a purpose beyond just sitting or sleeping all day long. Walking provides a sense of direction and accomplishment.


  1. Provides both physical and mental stimulation. Exploring their surroundings withtheir senses is also an instinctual activity for dogs. During the course of a walk your dog will be exposed to all sorts of smells, sights and sounds. This also acts as a mental workout for the brain.


  1. Provides much needed social interaction. Socialization is an important part of any dog’s life, especially in their early years. When walking you will most likely encounter other people, children and other dogs. This will help to build her confidence and social skills. Dogs who are not walked can become more fearful and shy, or might lack the necessary social skills to interact with people and other dogs.


  1. Provides exposure to a wide variety of “worldly” things, creating a more confident and stable dog. A dog who is walked often will become more comfortable around all sorts of things such as bicycles, skateboards, traffic noises, loud trucks, mailmen, etc. Dogs without this exposure can become fearful, skittish and territorial, seeing every strange sound, vehicle or person as a threat.


  1. If you own other dogs, walking them together will help them to bond with each other as a pack and prevent behavior problems between them.


  1. Dogs are social beings that crave our attention – walking with them provides your attention and interaction with them.


  1. Regular walking can lengthen and improve the quality of life for your dog.


  1. And best of all… you will have a walking buddy and a reason yourself to get out, get moving, enjoy the fresh air and get yourself healthy and fit.


 An by all means, if your dog is having difficulty walking or moving, call us to schedule and appointment.  


Thunderstorms and New Year's Fireworks Can Lead to Noise Phobia in Pets

By Guides, Health, News

cat dog fireworksThunderstorms and New Year’s Fireworks Can Lead to Noise Phobia in Pets

Pets are not as thrilled about the New Year’s fireworks as their human owners. Just the opposite, they find the noise very stressful and even scary. The same counts for thunderstorms, especially when it comes to dogs although excessive fear of thunders, fireworks, gunshots and other loud noises can be developed by cats and other pets as well. And with each exposure, the fear tends to intensify, often progressing to noise phobia. Besides causing a major distress for both the pet and their owners, noise phobia also poses a risk of injury which can occur while the pet is trying to run away from the source of noise.

Dogs More Likely to Develop Noise Phobia than Cats

Irrational fear of loud noises such as thunders and New Year’s fireworks can be developed by both cats and dogs as well as other pets including horses. However, it is much more likely to be developed by dogs than cats. It remains unknown what causes noise phobia in pets and in most cases, there is no single trigger. But in most cases, the fear grows bigger with each exposure and eventually, the animal may also develop fear of similar noises/sounds and related events.

Signs and Symptoms of Noise Phobia

Animals suffering from noise phobia can display fear of loud noises in many different ways. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include trying to escape, hiding, shaking, pacing, drooling, whining, urinating/defecating, refusing to obey and panting, to mention just a few. As the animals try to run away from the source of the noise, they can injure themselves, while those succeeding to escape can get lost.

Making Loud Sounds Less Terrifying for Your Pet

If your pet suffers from noise phobia or is afraid of certain noises such as thunders and New Year’s fireworks, there are several things you can do to make the noise less stressful and frightening:

– Keep your pet away from sources of loud noises such as fireworks. As mentioned above, the fear tends to increase with each exposure. Therefore, it is best to avoid events such as New Year’s celebrations involving fireworks.

– Keep your pet indoors during thunderstorms. Pets generally feel safer with their owners and as a result, thunder and lightning appear less frightening. You may also run a kitchen fan or TV to mask the noise and distract your pet.

– Watch your attitude. The way you behave during thunderstorms and other ‘scary’ events has a major impact on your pet. Try to stay calm and take a comforting stand but be sure not to be overly comforting because the animal may misinterpret it as an approval of their behavior. Also, don’t punish your pet because it will only make things worse.

– Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier if you must go outside during a thunderstorm, fireworks or other loud event. Animals that are afraid of loud noises instinctively try to run away from the perceived threat and they don’t respond to commands. As a result, they are virtually impossible to control unless on a leash or in a carrier.

– Ask your vet for help. If your pet’s fear of loud noises is severe or if you suspect noise phobia, turn to your vet for help. There are several treatment options, with medications and behavior modification being the most common approaches to treatment of this irrational form of fear.