Don't Let Your Dog Become a 4th of July RunawayThere's nothing quite like the thrill of fireworks booming and soaring overhead... unless you're a dog who suffers from fear of loud noises.

The upcoming holiday week -- with its fireworks, firecrackers and other loud noises -- can be terrifying to dogs with noise phobias. Some hide, many run away, trying to escape the sound. In fact, the Fourth of July week is peak time for lost dog reports.

As pet owners, we need to take some extra precautions to keep our pets safely at home and feeling safe during the upcoming celebrations.

  • Resist the temptation to take your dog with you to the community fireworks display or a backyard celebration that includes fireworks. Even if your dog hasn't been troubled by loud noises in the past, this could be the time that she runs off to escape the scary sounds.

  • Don't leave a fearful dog outdoors during fireworks; bring him indoors to a quiet area of your home -- an interior room is best. Turn on a radio or TV to help mask the loud noises outside. Talk to him in a calm voice.

  • Don't scold, which will make her anxiety worse, but don't coddle either. Instead, distract her by playing with a favorite toy or practicing obedience skills, rewarding with a favorite treat.

  • If your dog's anxiety is severe, don't leave him alone during fireworks, because he might injure himself trying to escape. If you can't be there, find someone to stay with him. Human attention is the best distraction.

It is possible to de-sensitize a pet to loud sounds; however, it takes time and patience and sometimes the help of a veterinarian or a professional trainer.