It's a time of the year many pets hate — the noise of fireworks combined with the heat of summer, and the Humane Society of Missouri is urging caution as the Fourth of July nears.

Officials urge pet owners to find a quiet, cool place where their pets can retreat. If possible, keep them inside to protect them from stray fireworks or those who might hurt them.

Windows should be closed to limit noise. Avoid taking pets to festivities, and watch for signs of stress.

The Humane Society says pets should never be kept alone in a parked car, even momentarily. Fearful animals also should not be confined on a chain or in a small area such as a crate, since it could increase their panic.

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