Animal Shelters are picking up more strays the week prior, during, and the week following the 4th of July than any other time of year, primarily because pets are so frightened by fireworks. Sadly, many pets are never found by their owners.

Follow these tips and both people and pets will have a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday.

1. Leave your pets at home!

Pets and fireworks are a dangerous combination. Fireworks and the loud noises can terrify your pet, causing it to bolt and run away. A pets hearing is 5 times more sensitive than humans meaning the fireworks are 5 times louder to our pets ears than ours.

2. Don’t leave pets unattended outside.

Don’t leave pets outside this week, not even in a fenced yard or tied up or in a car. Dogs trying to escape the noises can become panicked, scale fences they never did before, or injure themselves by becoming entangled in ropes. They can end up lost miles from home, suffer heat exhaustion, or get hit by a car.

3. Exercise pets early in the day.

Take your dog for a walk early in the day before the fireworks start, so it will be tired and ready for a snooze when all the excitement begins. And make sure it’s had a chance to go potty, to avoid an accident in the house later.

4. Keep pets safely indoors in a quiet place.

Put your pet in a quiet room, away from outside sounds. Shut the windows, close the curtains or window blinds and use your air conditioner or a fan. Turn on the TV or radio to provide a normal sound to help drown out the noise from the fireworks. If you know your pet has a history of anxiety around loud noises, consult your vet before the holiday. Your vet may prescribe a mild tranquilizer to help keep your pet calm.

5. Make sure dogs and cats are wearing an ID tag or license.

Finally, make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag with your current address and phone number so they can be returned to you if it should get lost. 95% of all licensed dogs are reclaimed! If your dog does become lost, please visit your animal shelter each day to look for your pet and file a lost dog report.