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How to keep your pets calm during Fourth of July fireworks

Everyone loves gathering for Fourth of July cookouts, cooling off in the water and seeing big firework displays on Independence Day. But not everyone is a fan of the loud noise that fireworks bring. It can be a harrowing experience for our furry family members. Loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms are the cause of nearly one in five lost pets, a survey from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found.

While we celebrate our Independence Day, here's how to keep your furry friends safe and happy:

Petting your dog

If possible, your dog should stay home with at least one human so it can be reassured if it gets anxious. Stay with your pet in a room that has minimal windows and play soft music or a movie to distract from fireworks and other noises.  A little affection goes a long way – one of the best ways to calm your dog down is to give it strong, firm pats to let it know you’re there, says veterinarian Diana Watkins, who owns 143 Veterinary Services in Massachusetts.


You can try anxiety-reducing devices like a Thundershirt, which acts like a weighted blanket to soothe your dog. 


For extra-nervous dogs, there are situational anxiety medications your vet can prescribe. They can be helpful during loud sensory events like thunderstorms and fireworks or when you’re leaving your dog alone for longer than normal.

Watkins advises giving your dog only veterinary-grade products because over-the-counter anti-anxiety and CBD supplements are often not FDA-regulated and can be harmful to your pup.

Collar with ID

Make sure your pet has an ID tag on at all times, or invest in a GPS locator for its collar if your pet isn’t microchipped.

Take a walk before nighttime

It’s a good idea to time walks earlier in the day before the fireworks start. Keep your dog on lead if you think fireworks will be set off.

Consider Hiring a Trainer

If fireworks and fear is impacting your animal, you can consider hiring a trainer. Working with a trainer of behavior consultant to desensitize your dog to fireworks gradually. It’s never to late to plan for the next fireworks event.

Sources: USA TODAY Network reporting and research; American Kennel Club

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