PORTLAND, Maine — As you make plans to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, experts say you should leave your dogs and other pets at home.
"Shelters across the country see more stray animals come in after the Fourth of July festivities than any other time of the year," Jeana Roth with the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland said.
Animal Control Services see a 30-percent increase in lost pets after Independence Day, according to PetAmberAlert.com. Just 14-percent of them are returned to their owners.
Like thunderstorms, it is simply because they are scared.
"It's really the noise that impacts them the most," Roth said.
1) Make a safe space for them to hide.
Create a 'home base.' If you animal is crate-trained, fill their crate with comfortable bedding and toys to make it a spot they feel most calm.
2) Exercise the during the day.
Get their energy out during the day so they are tired at night. Hopefully they will even sleep through the festivities.
3) Give them toys or treats to keep them busy.
Using slow feeders, puzzle toys or squeaky toys, you can easily occupy them and distract them from what is happening. It also helps sooth their fears.
4) Play music or turn on the TV for ambient noise.
It might seem a bit over-the-top, but leaving the TV or radio on can be a simple way to create background noise for your pets. It can be both calming and distracting.
5) Keep pets inside so they don't try to run away.
The risk is real. Scared pets outdoors will run to seek any kind of shelter and that won't always be the house. Just keep them inside so you can make sure you still have them to love the next day.
"It's important to keep your animal safe at home," Roth said.