By Linda Mathes

With the July 4th celebrations approaching the Unicoi County Animal Shelter wants to remind you that fireworks and pets don’t mix.

Many dogs and cats are terrified of the loud pops, bangs and screams that accompany fireworks. The number of “lost dogs” increase after firework displays and many of these animals end up in shelters.

The shelter has some recommendations on how to keep your pet safe this holiday:

• Do not take your pet to a firework display. They are better off at home.

• Pets will try to find somewhere in the house to hide, under a bed, in a corner of a room, someplace to stay safe. Let them find their safe place.

• Be sure your pet is wearing an identity tag or is micochipped in case they do get loose.

• Turn on the television or play music to help drown out the noise.

• If your pet has a severe reaction to the loud noises ask your veterinarian about options to relieve the anxiety.

• Outside dogs can become very fearful and dig, break or jump out of a fence trying to escape the terrifying noise. If possible move your pet to a secure building where he can’t hurt himself.

Let’s make sure both we and our pets have a happy July 4th.

As usual, our shelter can always use donations of kitty litter and cleaning supplies and don’t forget about our low-cost spay/neuter program. The next date for the clinic is July 25 and all pets must be registered by July 20.

For further information contact the shelter at 743-3071 or drop by the shelter during open hours Tuesday-Saturday from 1-5 p.m. The shelter is located at 185 N. Industrial Drive, Erwin.