June 29, 2017

Fireworks and Your Pet: Tips for Staying Safe This Fourth of July

dog with a 4th of july party hat

Break out your grills, lawns chairs and festive food, because it’s that time of year again—Independence Day is just around the corner! The Fourth of July is always a great day to celebrate our nation with friends, family and furry ones alike. Like many of us, you may anticipate catching a fireworks show at the end of the evening, or you may be planning to light up the sky yourself. While fireworks are a longstanding tradition for this summer holiday, for some pets, fireworks are not a reason to party, but a reason to panic.

On and around the Fourth of July, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) sees an increase in calls concerning pets who have ingested fireworks, or are having issues due to the loud noises they make. However, with a little planning, you can ensure that your four-legged friends enjoy the holiday just as much as you do.

If your pet has a fear of or aversion to loud noises:

  • Something as simple as turning on some soft music and moving your pet into an interior room with no windows can be helpful.
  • An anxiety vest may work in some cases—if you don’t have one, try a snugly fitting t-shirt.
  •  If you and your veterinarian do decide that anti-anxiety mediation is your pet’s best bet, there are a few things to remember. First and foremost, give a practice dose of the medication before the big night to see how your pet responds to the medication. Second, never share the medication with another pet or give more than the recommended amount. If you do, you may end up spending the holiday at your local veterinary emergency clinic.
  • While noise phobias are not as common in cats, they can and do happen. Fortunately, cats tend to hide when frightened. Checking in on your cats, having some quiet music on and keeping them indoors during the height of the fireworks is always a good idea.

If your pet is the type to taste new and unusual things:

  • While cats are typically a little smarter than this, some dogs will eat anything, regardless of how it tastes—including fireworks! Never underestimate your pet’s level of curiosity.
  • Fireworks contain several types of chemicals and heavy metals. If you set off fireworks at home, make sure you thoroughly clean up the area before letting your dog have access again.

Use the shareable image below to remind your friends and family to be on the lookout for potential pet dangers this Fourth of July. For more safety tips and helpful resources, like what to do if your pet gets lost during any summer festivities, download the ASPCA mobile app and the APCC mobile app to stay informed and aware year-round!

4th of July Safety Shareable

If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately with our 24 hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.