It’s safe to say that almost every American loves celebrating the 4th of July. Whether it’s the freedom, patriotism, or the love for a good party, all seems to be right on the Fourth. However, as glorious as this day is for humans, it can be an unnerving day for man’s best friend.

Between the days of July 4th and 6th, animal control sees a 30% increase in lost pets. Of those 30%, only about 14% are actually returned home. Before the celebrations begin, keep the following tips in mind to keep your four-legged friend safe and content.

Stay Home or Keep Them Inside

Your dog feels safest, calmest, and most content around you. On the 4th of July, if you know a dog is scared of fireworks, consider the following:
• Stay home
• Bring them in before the fireworks start (usually around dusk)
• Remain close to them while the fireworks are happening
• Keep them indoors until the fireworks are over

If you aren’t able to stay home, please do not leave your dog, or any pet for that matter, outside.

Let me say that again for the people in the back: Do. Not. Leave. Your. Dog. Outside.

While you may think your dog is safe in the backyard, if they are scared and trapped, they will go to extreme measures to escape.

When the fireworks begin, and they see bright lights followed by the loud cracks, some dogs can go in to “fight or flight” mode. Their survival instinct will tell them to run away from the noise, no matter how long they’ve been with you. Attempting to flee opens the door not only to getting lost, but also to getting hurt in the midst of it.

Learn your dog’s reaction to fireworks. If they have noticeable anxiety, stay home, and comfort them when you hear the celebrations begin. Do not let them go outside until you feel like the environment is safe for them to do so.

Give Them a Safe, Familiar Environment

Moving your dog to a dark room that can drown out the sound of the fireworks will give your dog the most peace of mind. This might be a bathroom, closet, or basement. Try playing some music, a white noise machine, or turning on a TV near you so they hear familiar sounds and the loud fireworks are silenced.

Make Sure Your Dog Is Properly Identified

All of your pets should have collars, IDs or tags, and microchips. But with the higher risk of your pet running away, it’s more important than ever to double check all of your information is updated in the system. Tags can become worn-down and hard to read, and the chips information may be outdated if you have recently moved or changed numbers.

Have your vet do a scan to double check your information is current. If your pet’s tag has become unreadable, make a quick visit to a pet store or grocery store to get a new one made.
I am a huge advocate for microchipping, because unfortunately, collars fall off – especially if the animal has been traveling for some time or had a rough escape. Most people know that when a dog is found, the first thing they should do before calling animal control is take them to a vet to scan for a microchip. With current information on their record, you can easily be contacted and reunited with your pet.

Is this your first 4th of July with your pup? Please pay attention to how they react to fireworks. Some dogs are completely unbothered by the loud noises, while others deal with severe anxiety. If, despite your best efforts, you have a pet that becomes very stressed or agitated by fireworks, speak with your veterinarian about medications that may help.