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Fear and Loathing on Fourth of July: Animals plagued by fireworks

Fireworks are part of Fourth of July festivities, but they don't always mix well with your four-legged friends.

"As soon as she hears one, she's running in and either going to her bed or going to hide out in the bathroom," said Iyiola Awosika of how his German Sheperd reacts to fireworks.

"She doesn't really like them too much at all. That's normally when her anxiety starts to trigger up."

She's not the only four-legged friend afraid of the Fourth of July staple.

"You have dogs that are fearful, but then you also have the progression all the way up to phobias," said Dr. Laurel Berger-Bishop, medical director at VCA Animal Hospital in Myrtle Beach.

She expects to see more animals this holiday weekend.

"Unfortunately any time you have fireworks, Fourth of July in particular, the shelters see a lot more pets, because animals will run away in fear," explained Dr. Berger-Bishop.

Fortunately, there are a variety of items like calming jackets and collars, chews, and even melatonin available at your nearest pet store to help calm your canine or cat.

However, the best thing to do is prevent the fear, according to Dr. Berger-Bishop.

"If you have an animal that you know is fearful of storms or fireworks, it's really a good idea to train them," she said.

Some pets with bad anxiety are even prescribed Xanax or Valium to help them cope.

"You have to give that obviously if you can an hour or so before you're expecting the loud noises, and that's an immediate type thing," added Dr. Berger-Bishop. "It only lasts for a few hours."

When the fireworks start to go off this weekend, Berger said to keep your pets inside in a dark place where they feel safe and can't get free.

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