They're our best friends, right? Let's all try being better ones over the long weekend, okay? According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), 1 in 5 pets goes missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms, and other loud noises.

My giant German Shepherds, Bella and Zeus were two of the biggest scaredy cats when it came to both thunderstorms and fireworks. If I was sitting with them, they would both try to get in my lap. If I was sleeping, they'd break down the baby gate to my bedroom and jump up in bed with me!

With a little planning and prevention, you can be sure your beloved fur children are cared for, comfortable, and - -around, to play fetch on Monday. Dog Vacay animal trainer Nicole Ellis has some tips for you:

  1.  Keep your dog at home -Taking them to the 4th of July festivities may sound fun until all of the noise and activity scares the crap out of them and they run for the hills.
  2. Get a pet sitter- If you are leaving them at home and you're worried about how they'll react to the noise in your neighborhood, this could be a great option. A pet sitter isn't you, but at least they'll have a friendly human to comfort them.
  3. If you are hosting an event, be mindful of the entrances and exits of your home as your pup may try to make an escape at some point. You could put up a sign for your guests asking them to be aware of your buddy's presence and to keep an eye out for him. Or just keep your pup kenneled.
  4. If your pet hides comfortably. Let them. Don't force them out of hiding, they obviously don't want to be part of the chaos!
  5. Make sure your pooch's tags are up-to-date and easy to read, with current phone numbers just in case they do escape.

There are more great tips to be found here and on the ASPCA website.

South Dakota's Weird Exotic Animal Laws Are Amazing

Have an interesting pet or looking to get one? Check this out from South Dakota Exotic Animal Laws before you go trying to adopt one.

You will need a zoo permit to harbor a raccoon dog. That's a real species. It's a small wild dog with a black facial mask and long fur, native to the forests of Asia.