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Loud Noises Can Scare Dogs; Pay Attention to Your Pet on 4th of July

STAFFORD, Va. — With all of the fun to be had on Independence Day, dogs and pets with anxiety often get overlooked.

The sound of exploding fireworks can make some animals nervous, and that may cause some – especially dogs – to run away from home to escape the noise. That’s why stray dogs are a common problem this time of year.

If you know your animal has anxiety issues, you need to prepare for that,” said Capt. Mike Null, with Stafford County Animal Control. “You usually know if they do by gauging how they react to thunderstorms.”

There are ways to make a nervous Fido more comfortable during July 4th fireworks. Pet owners can allow their animals to hide under a bed or someplace in the home where the animal feels safe. Null also says to make sure the animal has plenty of water to help ease the anxiety.

There are also several homeopathic anxiety remedies like calming chews and solutions that are marketed as an all-natural treatment for animal anxiety.

If your dog or animal does run away, the best place to call is the closest animal shelter. In Stafford, the county animal shelter on Eskimo Hill Road is closed on Independence Day but reopens on July 5. There are also instances where neighbors will find stray dogs, take them in an notify animal control, and keep them until animal control finds the owner.

The owners of animals with nametags or those with an implanted microchip are contacted immediately by shelter staff, said Null.

State law mandates municipal shelters must keep dogs that show some sign of having an owner, like a collar around its neck, for at least 11 days before it can be put up for adoption. Null said no dog has been euthanized at the Stafford shelter between January and May 2014.

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