4th of July 2020: Here's how to keep your pets safe this holiday weekend

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Every year we bring you the numbers of animals in shelters around the Fourth of July.

However this year, with the shelter-in-place orders in effect due to the coronavirus, the numbers are surprisingly low.

There are still things you have to do to keep pets safe from adding to these numbers.

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The 4th of July will be very different for people this year amid stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines.

But for pets, it may be worse, with numbers of illegal firework activity up since mid-May.

"They don't know that fireworks are going to go off and they don't know where the sound is coming from," Oakridge Veterinary Clinic Veterinarian Michellé Mac said. "They just hear a 'boom' all of the sudden which could cause a lot of stress and anxiety for them. If they're in your yard, they can also run away too, which could be dangerous and potentially fatal to them."

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This response usually leads to greater numbers of pets ending up at animal shelters while their owners are out enjoying the show.

Just last year, San Jose Animal Care and Services reported 70 lost animals brought to the shelter in the ten days following July 4th.

But even with increased firework activity, numbers of stray animals are lower than usual this year.

"People are home and so, typically, they are able to watch over their animals. So, if they are home, they are going to be able to deal with their animals anxiety from the fireworks. As opposed to, if they are working or out celebrating the fourth of July, that's when we tend to see animals want to get away from their home."

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That doesn't mean that furry friends are out of the woods just yet. We asked a veterinarian to give you some tips for keeping your pets safe and calm during the 4th of July weekend fireworks.

"You can get over-the-counter homeopathic remedies," Dr. Mac said "So products like zylkene and adaptil. You can get a thunder shirt, which is a really tight shirt that goes around your pet so it has a naturally calming effect on them. Then, you can always talk to your veterinarian about getting sedetives or anti-anxiety medications too."

The biggest piece of advice that Dr. Mac suggested was to stay home with your animals to prevent them from running away.

For more information on the Oakridge Veterinary Clinic, click here.

For more information on San Jose Animal Care Services, click here.

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