America loves to celebrate its birthday with pizzazz, and we all look forward to fireworks, cookouts, pool parties, sparklers, and merriment. While this sounds wonderful to most people, July Fourth can be one of the scariest and most dangerous days of the year for pets. Whether you’re hosting a party or attending festivities, take the following steps to ensure your pet’s safety.

If you’re hosting a party

  • Ensure your pet is wearing a collar and tag, or that she has a microchip with up-to-date information. If your pet runs away, which many do on this holiday because of noise phobias, having your contact information easily available is the best way to ensure her safe return.
  • Put your pet inside. The safest place for your pet is in a crate or a secure room. Putting a sign on the door asking guests to keep the room closed may be a good idea. Be sure the room is kept at an acceptable temperature, and that your pet has access to clean water.
  • Your food and alcoholic beverages are good for your guests, but not for your pets. Do not allow your pet to get to any food scraps or drinks, and familiarize yourself with the foods that are toxic to dogs.
  • Insect repellent should stay on people, not pets. If your pet needs repellent, ask our team to recommend a product expressly labeled for pets.
  • Keep pets away from citronella candles, because inhaling the fumes can be detrimental to their health. Also, ensure Tiki torch supplies, matches, lighter fluid, insect coils, DEET, and essential oils are out of reach.
  • Keep glow sticks and all fireworks, including sparklers, away from pets at all times. Many of these items contain toxins, such as arsenic, and poisoning following ingestion is one concern. Another worry is the burns and trauma that can result when pets are too close to lit fireworks.
  • Check your yard carefully after the festivities before allowing your pet back outside. Fireworks leave behind all manner of wrappers and debris that contain toxins or could cause digestive issues, so clear your yard of any of this trash, as well as food scraps, beverages, or barbecuing supplies that could harm your dog.

If you’re attending celebrations away from home

  • Keep your pet at home in a secure, escape-proof room or crate, and consider playing calming music to reduce the noise of fireworks. For pets who are extremely noise-sensitive, preventive behavioral desensitization may help reduce the impact of fireworks. Compression shirts and pheromones can also help in some cases. Ask our team for additional suggestions.
  • If you cannot keep your pet indoors, check and recheck your yard before you leave the house to ensure it is escape-proof and that your pet will not be able to push through, dig under, or jump over any fence. Scared animals are not logical and will be desperate to escape.
  • Ensure your pet is wearing a choke-safe collar and tag, that she is microchipped, and that the information on the tag and with the microchip registry is up-to-date. The ASPCA has a mobile app that includes a personalized kit to help you find an animal who goes missing. You want to make finding her as easy as possible.

July fifth is always the ASPCA’s busiest day. Keep your furry friend out of harm’s way—and out of a shelter—with these simple precautions. Whether you’re headed out for an epic lake holiday or a small gathering at home, do not ignore your pet’s health and happiness. The safest way for you to celebrate this holiday with your pet is to exclude her. Then, you can fully enjoy the celebration of our country’s birth, knowing your pet is safe and secure.

If your pet suffers with severe anxiety at this time of year, contact our hospital for advice.