MANHATTAN (KSNT) – A veterinarian from Kansas State University has some advice for pet owners who want to help their anxious animals have a happy Independence Day.

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, many people are getting ready to fill the sky with lights and explosions. This can be a fun experience for many, but pets may not find it to be so enjoyable.

“This holiday is often a time filled with fear and anxiety for some pets — and it can also be a dangerous time for them as well,” said Susan Nelson, clinical professor at the K-State Veterinary Health Center, a part of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “It is best to speak to your veterinarian now about medication options if needed, especially since the majority of fireworks will be set off over the weekend this year when your veterinarian’s office will likely be closed.”

One tip that Nelson is encouraging people to follow is to keep their pets indoors during the celebrations and to use a leash if the pet is taken outside.

“The sound of fireworks can make some pets run off in an attempt to get away from the noise,” Nelson said. “In fact, this is the time of year with the highest incidence of runaway pets, so be sure to keep them secure.”

Pets can become lost and get hit by a car if owners are not careful as their fear of fireworks could make them less observant. Nelson recommends owners get some type of ID or microchip on their pets in case they get lost. Keeping your pets inside is one of the best solutions according to Nelson.

“Many dogs will appreciate being in the safe confines of their crate and will do fine if allowed to stay there,” Nelson said. “A secure room may also work as well. Be sure to close the blinds or use heavy curtains to block out the flashes of light.”

Nelson also says that following these tips can help calm your pets if they are easily startled by loud noises:

  • Play soothing music or turn on the TV or white noise machine to block out loud crackles and booms.
  • Try using an anxiety wrap that is specially made for pets to help those with mild anxieties.
  • Use over-the-counter medications made for anxious pets to help those with mild to moderate noise anxiety.
  • Consider a temporary relocation for your pet to a quieter friend or relative’s house.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about prescription anti-anxiety medications if your pet has a severe noise phobia.
  • Store fireworks in places where your pet can’t reach them.

If your dog isn’t bothered by fireworks, Nelson says that it is still subject to being burned or injured if it gets too close or attempts to retrieve a firework after it has been ignited. Many fireworks also have toxic chemicals in them that could hurt a pet if they are ingested. In addition to this, Nelson said that you should keep your pet away from insect repellant.

“Mosquitoes are often out in force this time of year, but don’t be tempted to spray your pet with insect repellants that contain DEET as it is toxic for them,” Nelson said. “Only apply insect repellants that state they are safe to use on pets.”

Fatty foods and leftover skewers or bones can also pose health risks to pets. These, along with alcoholic beverages, should be kept away from pets.