Keep your pets safe with these tips

The sights and sounds of the 4th of July often scare pets, causing stress and fear. You may notice your dog whining or exhibiting destructive behavior resulting in damaged property or injury. Cats seek out hiding places once the fireworks begin and may run away and become lost. Rarely is the 4th of July fun for our pets.


Past holidays, we’ve treated cats suffering lacerations attempting to escape and dogs with severe burns in their mouths as a result of picking up live or spent fireworks. We have identified lost pets that were microchipped and returned them to their owners.  Here are a few tips to keep your pets safe during the holiday:


1)  Prepare in advance

  • Make sure your dogs and cats have identification tags with up-to-date information.
  • If your pets aren’t already microchipped, now’s a good time to do it. It’s a simple procedure, greatly improves your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost, and is cheap. If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information in the microchip registry is up-to-date.
  • If your pet has shown anxiety in the past, consider anti-anxiety drugs. The most common ones we prescribe are Gabapentin and Trazadone. These are safe, effective medications, and inexpensive.
  • Make sure your pet’s environment is safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, is your yard secure enough to keep your pet contained?


2)  Be safe during 4th of July celebrations

  • Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
  • Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
  • Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
  • Don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
  • Remember that too much sun and heat can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s hot and make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors.
  • Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up fast and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.


3)   After the celebrations

  • Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.
  • If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.


Click here to visit the ASPCA webpage, and learn what you can do to make the 4th of July a safer and more pleasant time for your pet.