While the rocket’s red glare may dazzle most of us, the accompanied boom may be distressing for your pet.

According to Coffee County Animal Control, the time around Independence Day is a busy time for them with an increase in stray animal calls.

To help keep your animal from getting lost, county animal control officer Karen Clark recommends keeping dogs inside the house. This includes pets that are penned or tied up outside, she stressed.

She also suggests that owners be sure to attach your dog’s rabies vaccination tag to its collar.

“If they come into the pound, we can look up the number, finds the vet and they will let us know who the animal belongs to,” she said, adding that pet owners should have a current picture of the animal.  

If implanted microchips are used on your pet, they need to be registered and kept up to date.

If your pet does get lost, contacting animal control is the first step.

Local animal shelters post stray pickups on Facebook. Dogs are kept for five days before being made available for adoption.

If the dog is not at the shelters the first time, continue to check back in case the dog was picked up later.

“We have forms they can fill out with all the information about the dog, so even if we may not have it right away, we may have it later,” Clark said.

“It amazes me; sometimes people don’t look here. This would be the first place I would check,” she said.  

If all the animal control officers are out on calls, drive around the shelter, check the kennels, and leave a message on their voicemail.      

The shelter is very full now, so with the increase with the Fourth of July, it’s going to be very crowded.

“It picks up before and about a week after. As soon as they start setting the fireworks stands up and people start setting off fireworks. Fireworks are loud to us, so way louder for the dog. They freak out over loud noises,” said Samantha Szelich, county animal control officer. 

“If there is a crate or something to keep them secure, it’s your best bet,” she said.  “People should make every effort to keep their animal put up.”

Safe and happy

Here are some ideas to help keep your pet safe and calm this Fourth of July.

Have a safe spot for your pet – According to the online blog K9 of Mine, some dogs are comforted by a crate. Add a cozy blanket, a bed and some toys to make the evening better. Shut the blinds and keep the dog in the quietest place of the home, like the basement.

Consider a Thundershirt. Like swaddling a baby, this canine garment is said to comfort dogs with a gentle squeeze. If you don’t have time to order and size a Thundershirt, make your own with an Ace bandage or an old T-shirt. Wrap the center of the Ace bandage across its chest and cross over the shoulders. Bring the ends around across the stomach and tie away from the spine. For a T-shirt, put the shirt on the dog backwards with the tail through the head hole. Tie the shirt tails across its chest.   

  Distract your dog with a treat, a dog puzzle toy or a Kong dog toy with tasty wet food.

Go for a walk earlier in the day to tire them out. This can reduce their anxiety when the fireworks go off. Also leave the TV or radio on to help drown out the sound of fireworks.

The last option would be consider anti-anxiety medication. Popular anxiety-reducing medicines include Zesty Paws Calming Chews – which are natural dog treats formulated with L-Theanine to promote canine relaxation – and Rescue Remedy, which is a liquid formula of natural stress-relieving remedies that can be added to your pup’s food.


John has been with the Manchester Times since May 2011. He covers Lifestyles in addition to handling education reporting and general news assignments.John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. John is a 1994 graduate of Tullahoma High School, a graduate of Motlow State Community College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

Staff Writer

John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. He is a graduate of THS, Motlow and MTSU. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

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