9 Tips To Keep Your Pet Safe on July 4th

By Janet McCulley, Animal Planet

As much as we all enjoy watching the “big lights go boom” in the sky every Fourth of July, our pets aren’t always thrilled with independence day activities.

Courtesy of our friends over at the ASPCA, here are some great products and tips to keep your pets calm and safe during the Independence day activities and prevent them from becoming one of the thousands of missing “July 4th doggies” that are traumatized every year by fireworks and other scary noises (…like Uncle Frank at the Karaoke machine, etc.).

1. Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.

2. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

3. Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.

4. Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.

5. Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

6. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

7. Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

8. Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

9. Keep ‘em Calm: Consider calming your pet with a homeopathic calming remedy, available over the counter at most natural pet stores or the new Thundershirt, which features a gentle, constant pressure that has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or over-excited. If your pet has severe anxiety with loud noises, you might consider consulting with your veterinarian for other options.

Please pass these tips on to any new pet parents you might know, to make sure they understand how to best prepare their pup or kitten for the holiday weekend and feel free to leave a comment with other tips you have found helpful. Happy Fourth!

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Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago


Barb Hansen
Ba H5 years ago

thanks i got this 11 days late, i'll keep it in mind for next year

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Ginger B.
Virginia B5 years ago

My dog and I are still recovering from the loud fireworks some idiots set off a couple of blocks away. It's against the law where we live to shoot off loud, ear-spitting noises, and I was furious. My dog is 13 years old and weighs 70 lbs; I am 5' 3" and about 125 lbs. I had to sit on our recliner with him on my lap, trying to soothe him. We thought he was about to have a heart attack. Just as I was about to call the police, they drove down our street and stopped the noise. Somebody else had called them. However, the lack of booms did not allay my poor dog. He was unable to stop shaking, no matter how much I tried to calm him down. Finally, I brought him into the kitchen, and gave him a teaspoon of organic ice-cream. Much to my surprise he ate it and stopped shaking for a moment. I ended up giving him about 6 teaspoons of ice-cream, and each time he ate one his shaking would stop. After that, he calmed down, and the shaking finally ended, but he was still nervous and didn't want me to leave his side. I think that ice-cream is a kind of seditive for dogs, and thought I should pass it on. We only eat organic, so I don't think a little ice-cream is harmful for a frightened dog. The next day (today) he was okay, and ate his regular breakfast, but I noticed that he was hesitant around the house and outside as well, which isn't like him.

Aino Viita
Aino Viita5 years ago


Liu Wai   Ling
liu wai ling5 years ago

Thanks , I remember I love my pets

Pamela H.
Pamela H5 years ago

Besides the fact that fireworks cause much suffering to animals, in anxiety and animals getting lost or trapped in hiding places; it's also a complete waste of money. It is literally burning money. Surely society can come up with a more modern way of celebrating. How about lazer lights or coloured water displays etc? Anything without the noise.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Thank you for the article...

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago