Originally posted as a Greene County Daily World column authored by Kegan Inman.

I have seen several posts on social media in the past week recommending that people buy a bag of pet food and donate to a local shelter instead of spending money on fireworks. While I personally believe that this is a great idea, I also know that a lot of people enjoy fireworks and ultimately as responsible pet owners, we need to be prepared for the inevitable booms.

Several places indicate that more dogs run away on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. Cats will also seek shelter during fireworks. Animals have exceptional hearing and fireworks are loud and unexpected, often causing a flight-or-fight response and sending pets to look for a safe place to hide.

Unfortunately, this may not be in your home or even on your property.

Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe during a fireworks show:

• Keep your pets inside, especially during the evening hours for the weeks leading up to the Fourth of July. This will prevent them from being able to run away. Also, make sure everyone in your home knows to not let them outside unsupervised.

• Create a safe place for your pet. If they are crate-trained, that can work great but if not, a small room with their bed, toys, a place to hide and even some music or white noise can help them feel more comfortable. Also keeping the curtains and blinds closed can help block the bright flashes and to muffle the sounds.

• Avoid taking your pets to fireworks displays or away from your home while fireworks shows are happening. If your pets do run off, it is best if they are in a familiar area so that they can more easily return home.

• You can try utilizing calming wraps, shirts, vests, etc. There are many brands that offer a variety of items that you can place on your pet to help them feel comforted and to remain calm. One brand that comes to mind is ThunderShirt.

• There are drug-type options available to help keep your pet calm. While there are some over-the-counter options, it is always recommended to discuss this with your veterinarian. This may be a solution for overly anxious pets.

• Most importantly, make sure your pets are microchipped and are also wearing a collar with identification. Unfortunately, even the best of intentions does not always go as planned and your animal could still possibly run off from fear. When this happens, you want to ensure that when someone finds them they can quickly be reunited with you.

Overall, understanding that your pets may get scared during fireworks and taking a proactive approach to keeping them safe is the best solution. Let’s have a happy and safe Fourth of July, for humans and animals alike!

To close, I would like to quote French author Pierre-Jules Renard; “The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat.”