Scripps News Life


How to keep your pets safe this Fourth of July

Animals often run off in fear of the fireworks during the holiday.
Dog fireworks
Posted at 12:24 PM, Jul 03, 2024

One of the best parts of Fourth of July is the fireworks — but not so much for your pets.

For dogs, fireworks can be especially scary, and even dangerous.

July 5, the day after the festivities, is known as the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. Shelters see a 30% to 50% increase in lost pets because they are running off in fear of the loud noises.

“I think it's important for everyone to know that fireworks are terrifying for most pets. And so, it's really important to follow a few steps to keep them safe this year,” Samantha Shelton, CEO and founder of Furkids Animal Rescue and Shelters, said live on Scripps News.

Pet parents should keep pets indoors before the fireworks start and create a safe space for them. Shelton suggests turning on the television or playing some music, and having some blankets available.

Pet parents should not bring their pets to fireworks displays or events, Shelton said.

“The main thing is to keep your pets inside. Please bring them inside,” she said.

Shelton said cats also get scared during fireworks and should be brought indoors.

She said a quiet room is also important for pets if you plan to have guests over or are hosting a party.

“Sometimes your guests can mistakenly let your pets outside,” Shelton said. “So go ahead and tuck them in. Keep them in that quiet space.”

If you plan to leave for festivities, Shelton suggests leaving your pet at home in a quiet room with a TV on and closed curtains.

In the unfortunate event that a pet does get out, it’s important to ensure they have proper identification. Their name and information tags should be up to date, and ideally, your pets should be microchipped.

“If you've changed your phone number, if you've moved, be sure to update that microchip company,” Shelton said.

Shelton said the best thing pet owners can do right now is invest in a microchip.

“For less than $50, you can have your pet microchipped at most vet clinics, and it is the most effective way to reunite lost pets with their families. So please take that important step,” she said.

A national pet database called Petco Love Lost — where owners can upload a photo of their pet with identification information — can be a helpful tool if a pet gets lost.

For dogs that are very stressed and experience anxiety, Shelton suggested visiting a trusted veterinarian for an anti-anxiety medication like trazodone.