Fireworks and pets: Tips to keep your dog or cat calm and safe on the Fourth of July

While events for the Fourth of July may look a bit different this year considering the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there are still fireworks displays and other celebrations planned across the country. 

And with the bright lights and loud noises, pet owners know all too well how the holiday can be a scary situation for dogs and cats. 

Animals often panic hearing the loud noises caused by fireworks and try to flee. In fact, July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters because of this issue, according to the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Michelson Found Animals Foundation.

The foundation surveyed more than 800 pet owners in May and found that 61% of respondents said their pets are scared of fireworks. Roughly 10% of pets have gotten lost on the Fourth of July.

Some 23% of pet owners surveyed said they have even skipped Independence Day festivities to stay home and take care of their animals.

Pet adoption event at Moscow's Artplay Design Centre

Two dogs are seen lying together on the ground in a file image taken Feb. 9, 2020. (Photo by Vyacheslav ProkofyevTASS via Getty Images)

Here are tips for pet owners on how to keep their furry friends safe this Fourth of July:

Be prepared

Michelson Found Animals Foundation offers several tips to help ensure the safe return of a pet, should they happen to flee. 

First, pet owners should make sure their dog is wearing an ID tag with the correct information. Secondly, owners should make sure their pet is microchipped — and double check that the microchip is up to date. 

“Check that your pet’s microchip is registered and contains the correct name and your current phone number and address, otherwise there’s no easy way to reach you if they’re found,” the foundation said in a statement.

Pet owners can register a microchip for free here.

Create a safe space

The foundation also recommends bringing a pet indoors and creating a safe, escape-proof space in the home. 

“Lower the blinds, close the windows, provide a bed or crate where they feel comfortable, offer a special chew or toy to distract them and turn on the TV or radio to help mask the noises outside,” the foundation said.

Try a calming aid

There are also CBD and anti-anxiety treats, chews and drops on the market that can help a pet relax. Pet owners can talk to a veterinarian in advance about prescription and homeopathic solutions available.

Wrap them up

The foundation also says that confining movement in dogs and cats actually has a calming effect on them. There are anti-anxiety wraps or coats made for animals — or even a scarf can do the job in a pinch.

Check the locks

Prior to any fireworks display, make sure doors, gates and windows are all closed to help muzzle the loud sounds and prevent an escape.

Keep festivities out of reach

Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them, as those drinks have the potential to poison animals, according to the ASPCA. The same goes for citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch oil products — as well as glow jewelry which contains a luminescent substance which is highly toxic.

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This story was reported from Cincinnati.