Fourth of July

Five ways to protect your pets during the Fourth of July

Fireworks aren't much fun for many dogs, cats and other animals. Here's how to keep them safe during a loud Fourth of July weekend.

Loud fireworks and raucous holiday parties can easily spook pets on the Fourth of July, and animal-advocacy groups regularly urge people to protect their furry friends on the holiday to ensure they don't run away and wind up in shelters.

Dogs and cats can escape from small openings in houses and fenced yards in search of a safe place and may be injured in traffic or wind up in a crowded local shelter, officials warned.

Animal-care experts offered a series of tips aimed at protecting pets:

  • Make sure pets have up-to-date identification tags and, if possible, a microchip registered with owner contact information.
  • Keep pets inside in an enclosed, comfortable place with some “white noise” for distraction.
  • If pets must go outside, make sure gates and fences are very secure.
  • Create a safe space for pets at home, off limits to guests, with windows closed and covered, and plenty of water and food.
  • Be sure to leave animals with a responsible party if leaving town for the holiday.

Owners who do lose their pets, despite all precautions, are urged to quickly post signs in the neighborhood and go to the city or county animal shelter nearest to where the animal was last seen with a photo and detailed information about the dog or cat. 

Fireworks have a long history of accompanying celebrations. Here’s a history of fireworks from the Smithsonian and the American Pyrotechnics Association.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published in 2022.

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