By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The fourth of July brings with it the traditional celebration of fireworks. Unfortunately, the sights and sounds that fascinate and entertain us each year can truly frighten and unnerve most dogs and cats. Even dogs that may not fear the sound of thunderstorms can be easily jolted by the sounds and scents of fireworks because, unlike the onset of an approaching storm, which is set by nature, they are truly caught off guard and left unprepared to handle the sounds. It’s extremely frightening and unnatural to them.

Sadly, it’s been observed that more dogs tend to run away on the fourth than any other day of the year. The overwhelming sounds tend to easily signal their flight instinct while causing extreme stress.

Keep all of your companion animals, both dogs and cats, safe this holiday by planning ahead first. Don’t expose them to the celebration or the loud activities. Plan to leave your dog at home when you attend a fireworks display. They’ll be much more content in a safe and familiar location such as a quiet room at home.

Leave their crate in a convenient location with the crate door open so that there is flexibility and they can retreat in a comfortable place. Place toys and treats inside.

Take your dog for a healthy walk first before you leave so that he/she will be properly exercised and much more relaxed. Turn on gentle ambient sounds, such as soft music or the TV for distraction of the outdoor sounds.

Reassure, reward, treat and praise, as always, when your dog is calm and relaxed. Then you can sit back, relax and enjoy the fireworks but leave your companion animals safely at home.

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