Pets and fireworks: What you need to know to keep your animals safe this 4th of July

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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WTVO)- For many people, catching a fireworks show is a popular Independence Day tradition. But a local animal expert warns the booms and crashes can be terrifying for our four-legged friends.

Amber Pinnon is Adoption and Volunteer Program Coordinator with Winnebago County Animal Services. She says shelters across the country, and right here in the Stateline, typically see an uptick in runaway pets following the 4th of July each year.

“Make sure those harnesses and collars are tight, make sure that identification or tags are on that animal,” Pinnon said “Flight is a huge fear response we see, often in dogs. So if there’s a loud noise or anything like that, that’s a huge thing we see with finding lost animals at our shelter, that we hear quite often.”

Experts say if you’re planning on going out to enjoy a fireworks display, it might be best to leave your dogs and cats at home.

“Put your animal in a room that doesn’t have windows, that is a little bit more closed off, that you can play some soft music in to kind of draw out that noise,” Pinnon said.

If neighbors are putting on their own shows, Pinnon suggests several ways to calm your pet down.

“If your dog really has some anxiety, or your animal does, making sure you work with a veterinarian to see if anti-anxiety meds might be a good option at this time. That could seem a little drastic, but is definitely something that’s an option on the table for people as well,” she said. “Or anti-anxiety vests can be great- so there are a lot of great options out there to help, and tools to make sure that your pet does feel comfortable.”

Another good idea, according to WCAS, is to get your pets microchipped if they aren’t already. Then, if they do run away, it will be much easier to bring them back home.

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