The Fourth of July is a wonderful holiday of celebration of our nation' independence, but, without a doubt, it's the worst time of the year for Grand Valley pets.

One of the joys of the season is the tradition of fireworks. The Grand Valley was void of legal fireworks last year because of the extremely dry conditions. That is not the case this year. The wet winter and spring is a welcome relief for local fireworks vendors. However, Grand Valley pets don't share that same joy.

My Frisco, a black lab mix is immediately stressed out by the sound of thunder or fireworks. She gets nervous, paces around, crawls up on my lap, pants heavily, and her little heart starts beating super fast.

It doesn't matter if it's some mild-mannered pops, or the obnoxious KABOOM that sounds like a bomb exploding, for many dogs these sounds are extremely stressful. If you are a pet owner there are some things you can do to help your pet cope with the "celebrations" of the next several days.

Mark Ruark Dog Training has offered some good advice for pet owners.

It's always a good idea for your pet to have an I.D. and microchip. That way if the animal gets scared by fireworks jumps a fence and runs away, it can more easily be identified and returned to the owner. If possible, don't leave your pet home alone during these times.

If you can, keep your pet indoors as much as possible during times of fireworks and try to keep them occupied with games and toys.

Although it's pretty much impossible to completely drown out the sound of fireworks, having the TV or radio on and playing a little louder than normal can help.

Valerian Root is a natural herbal supplement that is said to have calming effects and help relieve nervous tension. It's safe for pets and might be worth trying. I would suggest the initial dose should happen early in the evening.

If your dog is feeling stressed by the loud noises, do your best to provide comfort and reassurance.

Oh, and if you in the group that is shooting off fireworks, please have fun. But, please, be considerate of other people who may be trying to sleep. It seems reasonable to ask that fireworks be set off prior to 10:00 pm. Please??

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