How to keep your pets safe during July 4 fireworks

NEW YORK, US - JULY 4: The Macyâs 47th annual Fourth of July fireworks show lit up the sky over New York City on Tuesday night and first-time drones are used during the Fourth of July Celebrations by Macys on July 04, 2023, in New York, United States

The fourth of July is here, a day of picnics, festivities, and most importantly, fireworks to thrill us and light the skies.

But while we may live these celebrations, they can be downright terrifying and dangerous for our pets. 

Noisy fireworks can startle animals, causing them to run away, and holiday foods can be harmful. Here are some paw-some tips to keep your furry friends safe and sound during Independence Day.

Preparation is Key: Plan Ahead for Pet Safety

The American Veterinary Medical Assocation has a collection of recommendations for pet owners to keep their pets safe on Independence Day:

  • Before the festivities begin, ensure your pets have identification tags with up-to-date information. If you have horses, consider marking a safety halter with your contact details. 
  • Microchipping your pets can also greatly improve the chances of their safe return if they get lost. Don’t forget to update your contact information in the microchip registry. 
  • Take a current photo of all your pets, just in case.
  • If your pet tends to be anxious during holidays, consult your veterinarian about behavioral therapy or medication to help desensitize them. 
  • Make sure your environment is secure—check if your yard is escape-proof and if pasture fences for horses are sturdy enough. Choose the safest area for your animals to stay during the commotion.

During the Celebrations: Keep Calm and Stay Safe

  • When heading out to parties, fireworks displays, or parades, leave your pets at home. The loud noises, unfamiliar places, and crowds can frighten pets, increasing the risk of them running away.
  • Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during the celebrations. For horses and livestock, keep them in securely fenced areas far from the excitement and noise.
  • If you’re hosting a gathering, ask guests to help keep an eye on your pets to prevent any escapes. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can remind everyone to stay vigilant. 
  • Keep pets indoors if fireworks are being set off nearby, and make sure sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal, and kabob skewers are out of reach.
  • Avoid feeding pets table scraps or foods intended for people, especially those that are toxic to animals. 
  • Keep pets away from the barbecue grill while it’s in use or still hot. 
  • Remember, too much sun and heat can be dangerous for pets, so keep them inside during extreme heat and ensure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water.

Travel and Aftercare: Ensuring Pet Safety Post-Celebration

  • If traveling for the holiday, consider leaving your pets at home with a pet sitter or boarding them in a kennel. If bringing them along, make sure you know how to keep them safe during the journey.
  • Never leave pets in a car when it’s warm outside, as vehicle interiors can heat up rapidly, posing a severe risk.
  • After the celebrations, check your yard for fireworks debris before letting your pets outside. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks, debris could end up in your yard, where curious animals might play with or eat it. 
  • Check pastures and remove any debris to protect horses and livestock. 
  • If you hosted guests, ensure your yard and home are free of food scraps or other dangerous items like food skewers.