KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It's the Fourth of July and across East Tennessee families and friends are gathering for barbecues, drinks and fireworks.
Setting off fireworks can frighten pets across a neighborhood, endangering them. Scared pets can bolt away from their homes, trying to hide from explosions and bright flashes. They may end up in the middle of the road, where cars can hit them.
Since fireworks are mostly shot at night, pets are also likely to run while it's dark. That makes it harder for drivers to spot them and makes it harder for anyone looking for runaway pets to find them.
To keep pets safe, their owners should keep them inside while fireworks go off. Pets could also feel more comfortable inside with their favorite toys and resting spots. Owners can also play music or keep the TV on to try and muffle noise from fireworks.
They should not let pets outside unsupervised during the Fourth of July either.
In case pets do manage to escape, owners should make sure they have a microchip. That way, pets will have a higher chance of making it home since they can be identified by shelters and animal care facilities.
If owners know their pets react strongly to loud noises, they may also ask their veterinarian about getting sedative medications, or anti-anxiety medication. Giving some to their pets ahead of time can help them rest easily through fireworks.
If pets do manage to escape because of fireworks, owners should immediately reach out to local rescue organizations. They should be ready to provide pictures and descriptions of their pets. If the pet is found and someone brings it to the organization, they will be able to reach out to the owner to pick it up and take it home.