4th of July Pet Safety

Holiday fireworks are no FUN for pets

Eighty percent of pet owners have owned a pet afraid of fireworks. This 4th of July, Fireworks displays will light up the skies before, during and for weeks after Fourth of July celebrations. As we enjoy this holiday festivity, it’s important for us to remember that this can be a very traumatic time for our pets. Loud noises can frighten animals, causing them to panic and even run away from home. In fact, animal shelters across the country report a heavy increase in the number of lost animal companions after fireworks displays, and San Joaquin County is no exception.

“Every year, dogs and cats escape from their yards or homes in fear during the holiday festivities. “Some pets that become lost wind up at city shelters.” Others are never found. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday for you and your pet. If your pet is a horse or other farm animal, make sure it has clean bedding and is inside the stable or barn or other safe area.


Keep all of your pets safe indoors during fireworks displays. Prepare the house, so that it becomes your pets’ safety zone, it’s important to prepare it properly. Soften the noise, by closing windows, curtains and blinds. Keeping a light on will calm your pet and make him feel more secure, rather than being scared in a dark room. Make the room cozy, put down familiar, clean bedding somewhere pleasant such as under a table, on or behind a chair, etc. Add some familiar chew toys, scratch pads, balls, etc., to keep your pets amused and distracted, the sound of rainwater is very soothing to pets. If your animal is used to being crated, partially cover the kennel with a blanket to make it feel warm, put in some familiar chew toys. Turn on the TV or radio and turn up the volume but not too loud, to help drown out some of the noise. If you have more than one pet, be sure they don’t mind being confined in the same room, or select several rooms for different pets. For example, dogs and cats will usually appreciate being kept separate. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, be sure to remove any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful if chewed. Remove any sharp items from the room in case your pet starts jumping or running around. Provide water for your cat or dog and a litter box for cats. Be sure to feed them at their normal eating time.


Make sure your pets are Micro-chipped and are wearing a collar with current identification and tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned to you promptly. Make sure your cat is wearing a break away collar in case they get caught on something, micro-chip your cat. Take a current picture of your dog or cat with and without the collar on, sometimes people remove collars.


Never take your dog to a fireworks display. It’s usually hot. There are always large crowds. And the dogs really don’t enjoy it.

Never leave pets outside unattended, even if they are in a fenced yard or on a tether. Pets who normally wouldn’t try to leave the yard may panic and try to escape. Dogs may become entangled in their tethers or hang themselves if they try to leap over a fence. To avoid injury, keep your pets indoors (INSIDE THE HOUSE). If your cats or dogs normally stay outside bring them inside for a few days after the 4th of July that is the best way to keep them safe.

Other ways to help your pets – If you won’t leave your pet inside the house.

If you will not leave your pets inside the house or a safe garage and know that your pet is seriously distressed by the sounds of fireworks, consult with your veterinarian in advance. Your veterinarian may recommend a fast-acting anti-anxiety medication. The key is to give the medications before the noise starts — they are less effective if you wait until the dog is already stressed. In addition to the anxiety medication provide a place in the yard that is more secure and has a calm, comfortable feeling like a dog house with soft blankets as well as chew toys.

Place the dog house on the patio and turn the entrance towards the house so that the fireworks can’t be seen. If you can set a radio outside in a safe place with calming music.

If, despite your best efforts, your pet does become lost, don’t panic. Ask neighbors to check inside their garages, yards, storage sheds, under cars and in the shrubbery at your home and throughout the neighborhood. Go to the nearest park or school and check there. Go to the Animal Shelter to check the kennels, fill out a lost pet report and look over the “Found” reports. Search lost pets online as well as Craig’s list and download lost animal flyers. Contact your local rescues and shelters as well as your local lost and found web sites with your picture and a description.

Many people set off fireworks for days and weeks after the holiday. Ask your police department to come down on people setting off fireworks after the 4th. Many areas had fireworks for months after the 4th of July and again on New Year’s Eve. Go to your

Do a yard sweep before letting your pets back outside. Collect any sparklers, firecrackers, etc., as well as party items and broken objects. This will prevent your pet from being injured by unfamiliar objects from yours or you neighbors fireworks. If you know that your neighbors use fireworks ask them to show some concern for outside cats and dogs and not set off any more fireworks after the 4th.

Keep your pets safe and happy this 4th of July!