MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For families, the Fourth of July is a time to celebrate. But for pets, it can often be a dangerous holiday.

The Animal Humane Society of Minnesota says they see an influx of stray animals around Independence Day every year, after they run away from the sound of fireworks. WCCO’s Kate Raddatz shares tips to make the holiday less stressful for your pets.

Beth’s 8-year-old dog, Jasmine, isn’t a fan of fireworks.

“She just hides because of the noise,” Beth Glommen of Golden Valley said.

She’s not alone. Studies show around half of dogs have a fireworks phobia.

“It all depends on the dog but you gotta be careful extra careful around the 4th,” Glommen said. “It can have reactions all the way from excessive panting and drooling all the way to hiding and not coming out.”

The problem is fireworks can scare them enough to run away.

“The Fourth of July can be a really big deal to pets because of the fireworks and noises they don’t encounter on a normal basis,” Liv Hagen, behavior modification manager at the Animal Humane Society, said.

Liv Hagen is an animal behaviorist at the Animal Humane Society of Minnesota. She says the best thing you can do is leave your cat or dog inside on the holiday. Plan bathroom breaks ahead of fireworks at night.

And leave them home with some calming tools.

“One that a lot of people have heard of is the thunder shirt,” Hagen said.

The shirt should fit snug on your dog. There are also pheromone releasing collars and sprays.

“You can actually plug in a diffuser in the room that your animal is going to spend time in in that scary event,” Hagen said.

Most importantly — make sure your animal is already chipped and collared so if they ever get out, someone will know who to call.

“During the Fourth of July, keep your dog on a leash,” Hagen said.

The Animal Humane Society says you don’t necessarily need to put your dog in a kennel when you go out to see the fireworks. They said simply put your dog where they feel most comfortable when you’re gone.

And if you find a stray, call an Animal Care & Control Center.

This applies to cats, too. Obviously cats tend to stay indoors more than dogs, but if you have an outdoor cat, Wednesday would be a good time to make sure they’re inside when fireworks start going off.  They do make Thunder Shirts for cats as well.

Kate Raddatz

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