Is your pet afraid of storms and fireworks?

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How to calm your pet during summer storms and loud fireworks (WTVD)

Does your pet freak out in a thunderstorm? Experts believe about 40 percent of dogs have noise anxiety and it's worse in the summer. Fireworks are a problem too. Animal shelters report their busiest day to take in runaways is July 5. So what can you do to calm your best friend's fears?

If you crate your animal, try that during a storm or when fireworks are going off. Put them downstairs or in a basement where sound from outside can be muffled. There is music online you can play that claims to sooth your pet through a stressful situation. Try it here:

There are also Thundershirts, from Durham-based Thunderworks. Phil Blizzard started the company seven years ago when his own 50lb lab would wake him in the middle of the night in a panic attack over a storm. Thundershirts are snug vests you Velcro onto your dog.

"It's like swaddling an infant. It applies gentle constant pressure about the torso of the dog and it's just that simple pressure that calms most dogs," Blizzard explained.

Blizzard says Thundershirts work for about 80 percent of dogs and there's science behind it.

"This pressure releases an oxytocin which is a calming hormone and reduces cortisol levels which is a stress hormone," he said.

Here's how you put them on:

Thundershirts start at $39.99, but for the past seven years, the company has given them away to animal shelters - 30,000 Thundershirts, in fact. And this weekend, shelters around the Triangle will pull them out to help the furry friends there stay calm through July 4th and the rest of the summer.

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