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How to keep pets calm during loud and bright Fourth of July celebrations

It doesn’t get much more American than a backyard barbecue with your pet running around, but they might not want to celebrate the Fourth like we do.

Pets, including dogs and cats, are often spooked by fireworks. They can’t understand what the noise is coming from, and the strange lights freak them out.

More pets are reported missing on July 4 than any other day on the calendar.

“They’re stressed and they get so scared that the fight-or-flight kicks in and flight usually wins,” Liz Pollack, president of Pets for Saving Pets for Seniors, says. “Then they take off and that’s the worst thing because not only do you have a runaway dog and you’re worried about them getting hit by a car.”

Pollack has several suggestions to keep your pet from adding to that statistic.

One option is heading to a pet store and buying an anxiety shirt, which may also be known as a thunder shirt. They are tight to the body and help reduce anxiety. You could also wrap an Ace bandage tight to your furry friend. “Snug, but not super, super tight,” Pollack says.

Another suggestion is to train your pets by playing them on speakers in your home. “Download sounds of fireworks and play them starting at a low volume just to get animals used to the sound,” she said. It’s probably too late to do it for this year, but it could be a goal for 2020.

Her top recommendation for this year is to have all of your pets inside before fireworks start. That means food and bathroom trips may need to be done early. “If they’re scared they won’t want to go out and you won’t want them outside,” Pollack said.

Bobby Oler @bobbyoler

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