Surviving Another 4th of July With Your Pets

It’s almost that time of year again! The time of year when we celebrate America’s independence from Britain with cook-outs, pool parties, and the age old tradition of setting off fireworks. While us humans look forward to sitting on our front porches or on city squares with loved ones and watching the colorful spectacle, our furry four legged friends may not be so thrilled with the idea of the sounds associated with fireworks, such as loud, thunderous booms, shrill, high pitched whistles, etc. According to, in a 2005 press release, the Indiana Proactive Animal Welfare, Inc. (PAW) stated that the day after July 4th, shelters are ‘inundated (overwhelmed)’ by the amount of pets that have panicked at the sound of fireworks and escaped, getting lost, injured, or killed.’

So what can we do to keep our pets safe on this 4th of July holiday?

First and for most, understand perhaps why Fido is afraid of these loud, sparkling objects. Imagine you are sitting at home, perhaps watching TV or asleep in bed, when suddenly a loud noise wakes you up or startles you. You are frightened because you do not know where the noise is coming from or what the source of the noise is. This is how our pets feel when they hear fireworks or strange noises. It startles them, and for some animals, the sound can be terrifying. The other reason perhaps Fido is afraid of fireworks is that he or she was not exposed to these types of sounds as a young puppy, therefore desensitizing them to the noise.

Purina discusses this fear with an excellent article, “Why Are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks? 11 Things You Should Know,” which offers tips for understanding why Fido is afraid of fireworks and how to help him or her feel less afraid. One of the tips the article offers is understanding that fireworks are not the same as thunderstorms. Yes, they sound the same as far as the sound but with thunderstorms, our pets can usually anticipate the coming storm because of various warning signs such as changes in the barometric pressure, wind speed, and so on.

Image Credit: Christine K

Image Credit: Christine K

A second and even more important factor to consider this 4th of July is perhaps keeping Fido contained inside and ensure all escape routes to the outside are closed off. Many pets, upon hearing the loud, thunderous booms associated with fireworks, may feel the need to run. The ASPCA suggests being prepared in the event Fido decides to take off, such as keeping their ID tags up to date with current contact information or, if your pet has a microchip, making sure that information is up to date as well.

A third factor we all need to be aware of are ‘flying fireworks.’ When a firework is launched, it does not always employ the philosophy of ‘what goes up must come down.’ Even if you have a house on the corner and your neighbor three houses down is launching fireworks, it does not necessarily mean that your yard is safe from fireworks. Before letting Fido out the next morning to do his business, ALWAYS check your yard to ensure there are no stray fireworks or debris lying around.

A fourth, and probably the MOST important factor to be aware of is the health dangers that fireworks pose to our pets. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, fireworks contain dangerous and deadly chemicals such oxidizing agents (potassium nitrate), reducing agents such as charcoal or sulfur, coloring agents, binders such as a starch or sugar source, etc. Fireworks also pose a serious burn hazard to our pets when exposed to the spark or smoke.

Surviving Another 4th of July With Your Pets

Image Credit: Enokson

It’s important to remember that just because we think our pets will find the fireworks just as exciting and pretty as we humans do, it’s usually in their best interest for us to keep them inside with a place to feel safe until the noises have stopped. It’s also important to remember that just because the 4th is over, it doesn’t always mean that the fireworks stop so be prepared to help your pet through the week following the 4th until all the fireworks have officially stopped.

For more tips on how to keep our furry friends safe:

How do you keep your pets safe during July 4th? Tell us in the comments below!

Featured Image Credit: Jdmoar (modified)

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