pet safety tips

The 4th of July is usually a great holiday to spend time with family and friends, barbecuing and enjoying the fireworks. If you have pets, however, they might not share your enthusiasm for the holiday. All those fireworks can be terribly scary for your pet; more importantly, they can also be very dangerous.

According to, more pets get lost around the 4th of July holiday than at any other time of the year.  The reason? Pets (especially dogs) get spooked by the fireworks and run away. An average of only 14 percent of lost pets are ever reunited with their owners.

So how do you keep pets safe during the 4th of July holiday? Celebrate without risk using these pet safety tips.

Tip #1: Watch What Pets Eat

The dangers of the 4th of July celebration have to do with more than just fireworks. One big danger at any party is what’s on your table. If you’re taking your pet along for the daytime celebrations, you have one more thing to worry about: what he could accidentally ingest at the party.

Keep a close eye on what pets eat during the festivities. Table scraps might seem innocent, but all that extra fatty food, sauces, and add-ons can lead to tummy trouble and cause diarrhea, vomiting, and even food poisoning. Other dangerous things to keep out of reach? Glowsticks, matches, and anything small enough that your pet might swallow.

Tip #2: Avoid Alcohol and Chemical Consumption

Even a tiny amount of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning in pets – and the results can be fatal without immediate emergency treatment. Plus, curious pups can get into lethal chemicals as well. Lighter fluid is highly toxic, so you shouldn’t leave the can where your pet can get to it while you’re distracted cooking.

Tip #3: Stay Safe in the Sun

The sun can be just as dangerous for pets (especially white pets) as it is for humans. Sunscreen might be a good idea, but you should only use one that has been labeled specifically for animal use. Never put insect repellant or sunscreen on pets that is not pet-approved. DEET, the basic ingredient in insect repellants, can cause serious consequences in their systems. When in doubt, ASK YOUR VET if a product is safe before you apply it.

Tip #4: Ensure Firework Protection

The best thing you can do to ensure your pet’s protection during firework displays is to keep him inside. Close all windows and doors to help muffle the sound and lights, and turn on some soft music or the TV to help mask the explosions. Remember that pets have a much more acute sense of hearing than we do, so if something is loud to you, it will seem extremely loud to them.

Tip #5: Consider Sedation

Pets that are very sensitive to noise might benefit from sedation medication.  Depending on the level of anxiety your pet experiences, sometimes natural products (like thundershirts and Bach’s Rescue Remedy) may be enough, however some require a stronger prescription medication. Speak with your veterinarian for the best recommendation for your pets.

Tip #6: Create a Safe Space

If all else fails, keep your pet confined to a small, safe room like the bathroom, and provide a carrier or another place where he can hide to feel more protected. Locking them away might seem like an extreme option, but it’s better than risking them getting lost or injured because of fear.  Make sure you check on them regularly and always be sure they have fresh water available, and never leave them in a hot car.

Tip #7: Provide Identification

Even with all these precautions in place, you should still make sure that your pets have collars and ID tags on in case they do get out. In addition, make sure they are microchipped and have a collar with ID tags as well. While microchips offer the ultimate protection, they’re not always obvious to a lot of people and that might delay getting your pet back. Tags, on the other hand, offer immediate information that anybody can use.

Here’s wishing you and your pets a happy and safe 4th of July from the team at Harmony Animal Hospital!