Things you should know about fireworks and pets

With fire danger at extreme levels over much of the state, I'm hoping this year's backyard Independence Day celebrations are more muted than the past.

Fireworks and all open burning have been suspended until further notice in Anchorage and the Mat-Su

Of course, in the 9 years I've owned a dog who's terrified of fireworks, I've never gone through a July 4 without some trauma. Over the years, here are a few of the things I've learned about protecting animals who are afraid of frieworks.

* Make sure your dogs are safe and secure. Anchorage Animal Care and Control experiences a spike in reports of wandering animals over the Fourth of July and New Year's. Here's their advice regarding New Year's fireworks.

* Turn on a radio or raise the level of the TV.

* Make sure your dog has its tags on in the event of an escape.

* Potty them before celebrations begin so you can avoid having to take them out while they're going off. Keep them on leash even in the backyard. Scared dogs are more likely to leap a fence, find a hole underneith even a hiding place that is difficult to get them out of.

* For dogs with extreme anxiety, consider trying a Thundershirt. With my scaredy, a Thundershirt clearly takes some of the edge off. It's not the magic cure I've heard some people experience, but it doesn't hurt.

* Try to distract your dog with games or jobs to do.

Do you have other suggestions? Share them here.