Whether you celebrate in the privacy of your back yard or with a crowd at a nearby park, the 4th of July can mean food, fun, friends, and fireworks for many people, but for your pets, it can feel more like an alien invasion. Loud fireworks and the roar of the crowds can scare your pets, causing them to flee from the festivities. And although we’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, this will likely not stop some folks from setting off fireworks in your neighborhood or wherever else they can gather.

 If you are planning to celebrate Independence Day this summer, be sure to take the following necessary precautions so that you and your pets are stress free and happy. 

Prepare in advance

• Do your pets have identification tags? If not, now is the time to get one. Be sure to put the ID tags with your contact information on their collars.

• If your pet has a microchip, make sure it is registered with the correct name and contact information. 

• Always carry a current photo of your pets. This can be helpful at any stage of their lives. 

• If your pet has any previous history of anxiety on this day, New Year’s Eve, or any other time they hear loud noises, you can consider talking to your vet about anti-anxiety drops, chews, or other remedies that can help keep your pet calm. 

Safety tips for July 4th 

• Give your pets lots of exercise during the day so that they’re more likely to be tuckered out before the loud noises start in the evening. A long walk or run or play session will help reduce anxiety and stress levels.

• For those brave souls who light their own fireworks, be sure the area is completely clear of pets, as well as small children and vulnerable people. Exposure to fireworks can cause severe trauma and can be harmful to their health.

• It’s uncertain at this point how many events will actually take place this year, and how they will look, but if you go to one, avoid bringing your pets to events with fireworks as they may panic and try to run. Also, crowds can be overwhelming for pets because of the loud sounds and packed spaces. Your pets will be better off at home. They won’t have FOMO 

• Alcohol and other drinks are poisonous to pets, so if you choose to drink around your pets, don’t leave your drinks unattended.

• Speaking of drinks, be sure your pets have plenty of fresh, cool water. 

• If you plan to be in an open area, avoid applying sunscreen or insect repellent to your pet because ingesting these products can cause vomiting, drooling, and diarrhea. 

• If you plan to use a grill, keep your pets away from the scraps because this could cause digestive issues. Better to keep them on their regular diets. 

• Before the nighttime celebrations begin, bring your pets indoors and to a safe and comfortable space. Help your pet relax by closing the windows, lowering any blinds, offering a special chew toy, and turning on the TV or radio at a reasonable volume that also masks the noise from outside. 

Our pets are an eternal part of our lives, and it’s important to keep their safety and well-being in mind on July 4th and beyond. Wherever you find yourself on the 4th, have fun, be safe, and protect your furiends so that they’re happy and healthy for many years to come. 

By Felicia Baucom