Even though the Fourth is over, the celebrating may not be: Here’s how to keep your pets safe and unafraid

Fireworks explode over downtown Houston during the Power of Houston '97 festival Saturday Sept. 20, 1997. Over 25,000 pounds of explosives were used during the show. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

While most people will be enjoying a fireworks display this Independence Day holiday all week long, some pet owners may see the occasion as less of a cause for celebration and more of a cause for concern.

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Loud, unexpected noises can set pets on edge, causing them to act out in sheer terror. Dogs may hide, run away or lose control of their bodily functions during what should be a happy time.

The American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) finds pet owners often report more lost pets during and after the July Fourth celebrations than at most times of the year.

They also stated more pet owners report incidents of pet poisoning due to pets ingesting decorations, unsafe food or even fireworks.

ASPCA experts advise one way to keep your pet safe during the fireworks shows is to isolate them from the activities.

Owners can keep their pets in a room with no windows to keep them from hearing the fireworks, while playing soft, soothing music to drown out the explosions.

Distractions are also a vital tool in keeping a pet’s mind off the fireworks. A favorite toy or a few treats are good ways to keep the pet’s mind occupied.

In some cases, a veterinarian can prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to soothe the pet’s nervousness.

Medications such as Valium and Xanax are good choices for reducing anxiety in dogs. However, most veterinarians will advise against any long-term use of these drugs, as they can change a dog’s behavior in the short-term, while also causing them to build up a long-term tolerance, making each subsequent dose less effective.

Another precaution pet owners should take is to ensure pets do not ingest anything harmful.

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If pet owners or neighbors are setting off fireworks, the ASPCA suggests pet owners should ensure pets do not consume any of the leftover paper or residue. These chemicals can cause vomiting and other digestive disorders in animals.

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