What do you look forward to during the July Fourth holiday? Some people look forward to spending time with family and enjoying the summer sun, while others find joy in lighting sparklers and setting off fireworks. Whatever your plans this Independence Day, remember that, while this celebration may be one of your favorites, your pet likely dreads the noise and chaos, and the festivities pose a danger to your pet unless you take precautions. Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers teams share tips for keeping pets safe on July Fourth.

#1: Keep pets cool during the heat

July in Texas can be sweltering, putting pets at risk for heatstroke. If you’re attending an outdoor Independence Day event, ensure your pet stays indoors with the air conditioning running during the day’s hottest temperatures. If your pet will be mingling with visitors at your home, ensure your four-legged friend has access to a shaded outdoor area and cool water whether they are in the house or out in the yard. Prevent your pet from becoming overexcited in the heat, and remember that flat-faced (i.e., brachycephalic) dogs, such as bulldogs or pugs, cannot dissipate heat effectively. Keep these pets indoors. If you do not have a cool, safe place for your pet to ride out the festivities, contact your local NVA clinic to see if they offer boarding.

#2: Secure pets inside during fireworks

If you anticipate nearby fireworks—at neighbors or nearby local shows—secure all pets indoors until the coast is clear. If you do not have a securely fenced yard, keep your dog leashed at all times and keep your cat in the house. An unexpected firework boom may startle your pet, causing them to panic, hide, or run away. You may need to remain vigilant about your pet’s security up to several weeks after the actual holiday, because your neighbors may set off leftover fireworks at any time. If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, gently remind them that you have a pet, and ask them to let you know before they light fireworks, or ask them to limit firing off these combustibles to certain days or times, so you can prepare to put your pet securely in the house before the scary sounds begin.

#3: Provide anxiety relief for pets with noise aversion

Around two-thirds of dogs have clinically diagnosable noise aversion—an anxiety-causing condition that loud noises initiate. Fireworks are one of pets’ top noise aversion triggers, sending sensitive pets into a panic. Noise-averse pets may pant, drool, become clingy, hide, pace, yawn vocalize, or tremble. Panicked pets may run away, or—if they feel trapped—may hurt themselves or tear apart furnishings, carpeting, or drapery in your home. Noise-averse pets are also prone to related conditions such as separation anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder.

Treating your pet’s noise-aversion anxiety and panic is vital to their wellbeing, and may require you to administer anti-anxiety medications to your furry pal, practice long-term desensitization or counterconditioning training techniques with your four-legged friend, and provide them with a safe, quiet space shielded from noise. Ask your veterinarian, a trainer, or behaviorist for help if your pet has shown an anxious response to noise in the past.

#4: Microchip pets in case they become lost

In the event your four-legged friend becomes spooked and runs away during the July Fourth holiday, they will likely join the many others in your local shelter—a few of the many pets who statistically become lost this time of year. To help local authorities reunite your pet with you, provide your four-legged friend with a collar and up-to-date identification (ID) tags, as well as a permanent microchip. Any of our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers teams can easily implant a microchip under your pet’s skin during an office visit. Shelters, veterinary offices, and police departments use a special instrument to scan pet microchips, which will link them to your contact information registered through the manufacturer.

#5: Clean up the yard before letting pets back outside

Whether you hosted a party or your neighbors set off fireworks, your yard likely needs some cleaning up before it’s safe for your pet. Keep an eye out for the following potentially harmful items:

  • Foods and beverages — Leftover food is an easy target for pets, but food intended for people can upset your furry pal’s stomach or cause pancreatitis. Alcoholic beverages are also tempting to pets but dangerous for them to consume.
  • Trash — Dispose of all trash bags, especially those that contain food or food debris, such as wooden skewers, because if your pet ingests these, they could develop an intestinal or stomach obstruction.
  • Ash and fireworks debris — Clear ash, and fireworks and sparkler debris from your yard. If your pet ingests this rubbish, they can become ill or injured. Remove these bits and dispose of them in the trash.

July Fourth is a fun, festive holiday, but loud noises and crowds can cause your pet to become anxious—or worse, to run away. Follow our tips to help ensure your pet has a safe holiday. To learn more about keeping your pet safe this Independence Day, contact the Neighborhood Veterinary Centers location nearest you and schedule your four-legged friend’s quick and easy microchip implantation appointment.