Big Booms, Poor Pups – Pet Safety Tips for July 4th

Dog hiding under blanket, with just their front paws and nose visible.

Fourth of July is meant to be a fun time spent with your friends and family. Given the current pandemic, though, your celebrations may be smaller this year. Just you, your family, and your pets.

And while your pets will no doubt love all the extra attention they’ll get on the Fourth, what they’d appreciate even more is if we all follow these pet safety tips regarding fireworks. After all, the fireworks can be very frightening to animals who can panic, run away, and accidentally injure themselves.

So here are some July 4th fireworks pet safety tips for before, during, and after the celebrations.

Before the Fourth

  • Ensure that their tags have up-to-date contact information.
  • Make sure the collar and tags are in good condition. You don’t want the collar to fall off or the tags to be unreadable.
  • One of the best pet safety tips is to get your pets microchipped. If your pet runs away, a microchip can be really helpful for those trying to return them.
  • Take some new photos of your pet. In case they run away, having these recent photos will be helpful for signage/posting online.
  • Make sure that your yard is secure. Look for gaps in the fencing, holes they may have dug, etc. Remember that a frightened animal can run faster and jump higher than you’d normally expect.

During the Fourth

  • Early in the morning on the Fourth, take your pet for a long walk or run. Throughout the day, do your best to exercise them so that they’re tuckered out before the fireworks go off. By doing this, they may sleep through the fireworks. Of course, take care to not overexert your pets.
  • Create a safe space in your house that the pet can’t escape from. Close up the windows, draw the blinds, move their bed or crate into the room, etc. You may also want to turn on music or the television and provide them with a special treat or a toy that they’ll focus on. The treat should take some time to eat, like something frozen or a treat toy stuffed with kibble.
  • Put your pet in this safe space before the fireworks begin. Trying to corral them once they’re scared will be much more difficult.
  • If you’re having guests over, make sure they know to not let your pet out of the safe room once you’ve put them in there.
  • If your pet is particularly frightened of fireworks, you may want to invest in an anxiety vest. While not a fully proven pet safety tip, these vests can help some pets.
  • Last but certainly not least, don’t bring your pets to large events where there will be fireworks. Exposing them to large crowds, loud noises, and strange smells will not be helpful in trying to keep them calm. On top of that, if your pet does bolt, they are at a greater risk for getting lost, injured, or injuring someone else.

After the Fourth

  • If you were setting off fireworks during the Fourth, make sure you clean up any debris they leave behind. Fireworks are fun but are also full of nasty chemicals that aren’t good for you, your yard, or your pets. And while you know to not eat a spent firecracker, your pet may not.
  • During your walks after the Fourth, keep a close eye out for firework debris as well. Pick it up and toss it before your pet snags them.

Thanks to the following sources for the great information: The American Veterinary Medical Association, Petfinder.com, the Michelson Found Animals Foundation, and Lynn Buzhardt, DVM of VCAHospitals.com.

(These articles are also a great source for other 4th of July pet safety tips regarding things like heat exhaustion, avoiding common foods that are toxic to pets, etc. Give them a read!)

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