The Fourth of July can be a stressful time for pets, especially ones who don’t react well to fireworks and may run away if they get scared.

With that in mind, Humane Solution Spay-Neuter Program is holding a microchip clinic on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Natural Dog Pet Food Market, 29 Miller St. The event will provide microchipping, including registration, for $25. Microchips can help increase the odds a runaway pet will be safely reunited with its family.

While we’re on the subject, here are some tips from locally-based website Canine Journal; Phantom Fireworks, an Ohio-based company that specializes in pyrotechnics; and the American Veterinary Medical Association, about ways to keep your pets from being traumatized by the sudden explosions they may hear next week:

  • Keep your pets indoors during fireworks displays.
  • Do not take them with you to a fireworks show or even let them outdoors while fireworks are being used.
  • Turn on the TV or radio and air conditioning to help mask the noise of the fireworks.
  • Keep pets in a soothing, dark room, and close draperies to help soundproof the room and toys to keep them distracted. Phantom Fireworks recommends playing light jazz or classical music, with the idea being “to muffle the fireworks noise with something soothing.”
  • Canine Journal recommends using a Thundershirt, a sweater that helps ease anxiety in dogs that can be found at many pet shops.
  • Walking or exercising your pet prior to the fireworks may help tire it out in hope that it will sleep through the fireworks.
  • Be at home or have someone at home indoors with the pet to offer them encouragement and support. If your pet seems agitated, stay calm and soothe her. “Perhaps you can pick her up and hold her tight,” Canine Journal recommends. “This can help her feel more safe and secure.”
  • Close all windows and doors and block pet doors to prevent escape.
  • You can also try distracting the pet as soon as the fireworks begin by involving it in an enjoyable activity such as “fetch” (indoors, of course).
  • Prepare a safe area where the pet can “burrow in” to feel safe; perhaps some blankets under a bed or draped over a small table. Play a radio near that area. Feeding the pet in the area will help it associate that area with good feelings.
  • If your pet is particularly nervous and you have no way of avoiding fireworks — for instance, if you live near a venue that has them — you may want to consult with your veterinarian and see if the pet may require medication or destressing techniques.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets, and don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
  • In addition to the microchipping option mentioned above, make sure your pets, both cats and dogs, have identification tags with up-to-date information. Take a current photo of your pets just in case.
  • Horses and other livestock can also get spooked by fireworks. Leave them in safely fenced areas and as far from the excitement and noise as possible, and make sure your pasture fences are secure.
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Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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