Fireworks can frighten dogs of any breed; big ones like Chauncei (above), a German shepherd, or small ones like Max (below), a Chihuahua. File photos.

Fireworks can frighten dogs of any breed; big ones like Chauncei (above), a German shepherd, or small ones like Max (below), a Chihuahua. File photos.

It’s here again! If you are a pet owner, the “it” is July Fourth, Independence Day, also known as the most dangerous and stressful holiday there is. Every holiday comes with challenges for pet owners, but the Fourth of July comes with an extra bang in the reality of fireworks.

Not all dogs are startled by fireworks. There are some that don’t show any reaction. There is no way of knowing in advance which animal will be afraid and which won’t. A German shepherd, despite its size and imposing presence, is just as likely as a mini-poodle to be afraid of fireworks or other loud noises.

Humans enjoy the spectacle and noise that go with fireworks and will go to great lengths to sit front and center to see the action. Some pets, on the other hand, tend to find them terrifying and will go to great lengths — like running into traffic or even jumping out of windows of moving cars — to avoid them.

Max, a Chihuahua.

Max, a Chihuahua.

This makes it easy to believe that more pets run away from home or get lost around the Fourth of July as a result of fireworks then at any other time of year.

The obvious solution to this problem that plagues countless pet owners is to outlaw any fireworks displays within 10 miles of a home with a dog, but this is very unlikely to happen. So the next best thing is to take steps to keep your pet safe and your holiday drama-free.

Step one: find out when, and at what time, the fireworks will be held. Although fireworks are meant to celebrate the Fourth, very often town officials may opt to have them the day or week before or the day after the holiday. There maybe fireworks for two or three consecutive days if the holiday fall on a weekend. Check not only with the borough, city or municipality where you live, but also in places which border where you live, to avoid any surprises.

If you plan to attend any fireworks displays leave your pet at home, although some people believe you can desensitize dogs to fireworks by using recordings of displays so they won’t have a negative response. I equate that to a human watching videos of someone being hit by a car; regardless of how much you watch, there is no way to predict a real-time reaction.

Since there is no proof that dogs can learn by watching a recording, you may be better off not putting too much faith in that method.

Make sure your dog has proper identification in case he gets away from you. Most places require that dogs have a license, but a license does not give the person who finds your dog information like a phone number where you can be reached. A tag with your phone number worn on the dog’s collar with his license can get your pet back home even sooner. Most important is to have a recent clear picture of your dog. If he is picked up by animal control some shelters will ask for a picture to prove that the dog is actually yours.

If your dog gets lost, don’t waste time. Get the word out; call everyone you know and ask them to call everybody they know; notify authorities, animal shelters and veterinary offices, and post his picture on any social media site you are on; tag your friends and ask them to share it.

Losing a pet can be very stressful and heart-breaking and the best way to avoid having to deal with it is to avoid situations where your dog could get lost. If you plan to attend any Fourth of July festivities, leave your pet home in a room where he will be safe and out of harm’s way.

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