Posted July 1, 2014 11:02 am

Clay veterinarian: Keep dogs away from noisy July 4 celebrations

Nervous Nelson in the bathroom retreat where he hides from the loud noises of fireworks and thunderstorms.

As my dog Nelson can attest, the loud booms and flashing lights of fireworks that accompany the July 4 holiday can terrify some pets.

Nelson hides in a bathroom, just like he does during thunderstorms.

Christian Broadhurst, senior staff veterinarian at Clay Humane, a nonprofit animal clinic in Orange Park, has some tips to ease pets' anxiety and keep them safe on Independence Day.

"While parties and fireworks are a lot of fun for people, animals can easily become frightened or injured during Fourth of July festivities," he said. "We see a lot of easily avoidable injuries around Independence Day, and we want to remind pet owners to keep their furry friends safe."

Here are his tips:

• Do not take pets to fireworks displays. Pets are often scared of loud noises, so it is best to leave them home during the fireworks. Many pets go missing when they hear the crackle of fireworks, so it is best to leave them in a safe and secure location.

• Do not leave pets outside. Loud noises can startle animals, causing them to jump fences or flee. Many pets end up lost or missing when left outside on the Fourth of July.

• Ensure your pet has a quiet and safe place to rest. Keep your pets in an area that they find especially comforting, such as a crate or a bathroom without windows. Give your pets a bed or towels to sleep, plenty of food and water.

• Make sure your pets are microchipped and always wear identification. Register the microchips with your information and ensure tags have up-to-date phone numbers and addresses. Missing animals with proper identification are much more likely to find their owners.

If your pet goes missing or you find a lost pet, call the animal shelter in your county:

• Clay County Animal Care and Control -- (904) 269-6342.
• Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services -- (904) 630-2489.
• St. Johns County Pet Center -- (904) 209-6190.
• Nassau County Animal Services -- (904) 491-7440.

For more information about Clay Humane, go to