Fireworks are fun for people, but often terrifying for pets.
Every year, animal shelters report a steep increase in lost dogs, and animal advocacy groups say more run away from home the night of July Fourth than any other .
It doesn’t have to be that way, said Laura Nichols, a member of the new group Friends of North Augusta Animals and owner of A Paw Above Pet Emporium on Georgia Avenue.
She recently posted a list of tips on her store’s Facebook page. No. 1 is to keep pets inside, even if they’re normally outside animals.
If they’re still afraid, try giving them a calming treat. They contain calming herbs – no drugs – and are sold by pet stores everywhere.
“They don’t have to take medicine,” she said. She particularly recommends a treat that contains decaffeinated green tea and chamomile. “So it’s just like when a person drinks a cup of chamomile tea.”
Owners should also make sure their pets are microchipped or at least have an identification tag with owners’ contact information on their collars, in case they slip out.
Here are some more suggestions, from the American Veterinary Medical Association:
• Before the holiday, take a current photo of all of your cats, dogs and horses – just in case.
• Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
• Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
• Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
• After the celebration, check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.
• Check your pastures and remove debris to protect horses and livestock.
• If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.