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It's cruel to let your dog freak out over Fourth of July fireworks

I've been a pet lover my entire life, but made my passion a profession in 2006. I closely follow pet lifestyle trends, industry news and assist companies with product development.

If you don't calm your pet during fireworks, you may lose them to a shelter

Fourth of July activities like fireworks and summer parties can cause debilitating anxiety in our four-legged friends. The loud noises from fireworks can cause pets to panic, feel anxious, bark uncontrollably, chew through leashes, dig under fences to escape, claw destructively, suffer seizures and escape into busy traffic areas while trying to flee from the loud, unfamiliar sounds. In fact, the Fourth of July and the following day are the busiest for animal shelters and animal control groups nationwide recovering lost pets that have run away.

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When it comes to treating pet anxiety, most anxious dogs go untreated because owners feel it unnecessary or they believe anxiety simply doesn't exist. Pet anxiety does exist and can result in property damage, high medical bills and your furry friend may even require therapy to overcome the trauma of fireworks.

Fortunately for pet owners, there are several well-known, proven calming solutions to protect your pets and help their anxiety during the Independence Day celebrations.

1. Get your pet a ThunderShirt ($40). This works similar to swaddling an infant and has a dramatic calming effect on pets.

Image: ThunderShirt

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2. Be sure a pet has up-to-date and visible identification and microchipping in case he runs away if scared by noisy fireworks.

3. Don't bring pets to fireworks events. Pets are better off being left home if you are going to partake in firework festivities.

4. Be sure to back up any photos or medical records to a cloud service so it can be easily accessed if traveling.

5. Crate your dog if they're used to it. If a dog is regularly crated, he may find the crate a place of comfort during fireworks.

6. Try using a pheromone spray and make sure his favorite toy is available for further calming and distraction.

7. Keep pets inside as much as possible during fireworks displays. The insulation of a home will help drown out the noise and make the dog feel more secure.

8. Remember: Don’t scold a scared pet. This will scare and confuse a dog and reinforce fearful behaviors.

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