Keeping pets safe and calm on the Fourth


More pets disappear on the 4th of July holiday than any other time of year.

Why? Fireworks can so frighten some dogs and cats that they bolt. 

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, advises people to leave their pets at home this holiday and offers some hints and reminders on his blog today.

Here are a few recommendations for ensuring your furry friend has a safe and stress-free Fourth:

Make sure your animals are inside, preferably in a room without windows (or close the curtains in rooms with windows), lock doors and windows and turn on the TV or play music to dampen the sound. You might consider making a "dog cave" with a covered crate and their favorite toy, if they are comfortable there.

Consider purchasing a "Thundershirt." These close-titting fabric coats exert a light pressure that has a calming effect on the nervous system, possibly by releasing a calming hormone like endorphins, the company says on its website. Ny sister and a friend can vouch for it, They have used the shirt on their noise-averse dogs and say it calms them during storms. (There are cat models available too. They don't guarantee you will be able to get them on!)

There also are a range of pheromone sprays and infusers aimed at calming frayed nerves in dogs and cats. (We've had success with Feliway during those times when our felines are on edge.)

If nothing else works ask your vet for anxiety-reducing medications. For more see an interesting analysis of fireworks and thunder phobias in dogs here.

And, just to be sure they come home n the event they escape, check IDs on collars and make sure your pet is microchipped.