Fireworks on the Fourth of July can be a lot of fun for us but it is a nightmare for our pets. The noise and excitement of the holiday can stress your pets out. All of the popping noises, light flashes and smells make many pets run away from home because they are trying to get away from all of the commotion. Keep your pets safe with the tips below.

When I lived in town I remember coming home after the fireworks display and saw several dogs running loose. One of them happened into my yard, which left me with the task of finding his owners. They had left him outside not thinking about what would happen when the fireworks started and the dog thought the world was coming to an end in his backyard. Thankfully, I found the owners that night but so many dogs end up at the shelter after the Fourth of July.

"Pets are family members, and it's understandable that people want to include them in their holiday plans," said Adam Goldfarb, Director of the Pets at Risk program for The Humane Society of the United States. "However, most pets will be more comfortable staying at home. Spare our furry friends the stress of fireworks, crowds and fanfare on the Fourth of July, and for everyone, we wish you a safe and fun Independence Day."

Here are tips to keep your pet safe on the Fourth of July and what to do if they become lost.

Leave pets at home: Anywhere fireworks will be set off is not a place for your pet. Do not put your pooch in the car before the fireworks start or at any time during the heat of year. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air. If the temperature outside is above 70 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 102 degrees or hotter within less than 10 minutes.

Put them inside: Give them a quiet place to go. I leave the radio on for my dogs every day so they get used to it. Then it is nothing out of their normal routine and can provide a buffer for the loud noises outside.

Identification: Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags. It is easier for someone to find you than it is for you to find your dog. Microchip your pets. The animal shelter will put a microchip in your dog or cat for just $20.

What to do if your pet becomes lost:

  • Check the animal shelter daily. You should physically go to the shelter and look for your pet. Do not call and depend on the staff to search through 250 animals looking for a pet that they do not know.  Here are the phone numbers to report lost animals:
  • City of Texarkana, Texas Animal Control 903-798-3971
  • City of Texarkana, Ark., Animal Shelter 870-773-6388
  • Texarkana Gazette 903-794-3311 (small $10 fee to run an ad)
  • Post photos of your lost pet on the various lost and found pages on Facebook.
  • Post flyers around with a photos and a number you can be reached. Be sure to put a date on the flyer.