6 Ways to Protect Your Pets This July 4th

Food, fireworks, and fun — it just wouldn’t be July 4th without all three.


But as you Instagram the heck out of all that red, white and blue, take a moment to think of the safety of the buddy sitting next to you. 


“It’s important to remember that while July 4th is a fun and relaxing time for us, it can be scary and even dangerous to our pets,” said Dr. Lori Bierbrier, Medical Director of the ASPCA’s Community Medicine department. “We strongly encourage owners to protect their animals by making sure all pets are wearing IDs, have safe and quiet places to retreat, and aren’t threatened by toxins or other hazards.”



The ASPCA — whose Animal Poison Control Center handled 2,938 cases over the 2017 July 4th holiday weekend — has compiled these key tips for keeping your cutie safe during the festivities, so take notes and take every precaution.



1. Remember, fireworks and furry friends don’t mix. Never use fireworks around pets, the ASPCA says, and leave animals at home when you head to July 4th celebrations — it’s just the safest place for them to be. Additionally, fireworks can contain hazardous materials, so store them away from pets. 


2. Make sure your pet wears ID. If your pets bolts during the fireworks, how will anyone know how to find you? Make sure your pet always wears a collar and visible ID tag with your most up-to-date information on it (name, phone number, address) and if they aren’t microchipped, get that done, stat. If you’re having guests over, remind them that you have a pet that could easily slip out a door and potentially get lost. Better yet, put your pets in a safe room where no one will partying.


3. Just say no to table scraps. A lot of the foods you’ll find at a July 4th feast — onions, grapes, chocolate treats, and alcoholic beverages — can be very toxic to pets. So rather than risk an emergency vet trip, just nix the handouts. Plan instead on buying some pet-friendly treats to dole out as the party winds down. Click here to read a full list of people foods to avoid feeding to pets.



4. Secure screens and protect pets from pools. When you’re not looking, crazy things can happen, including falls from unsecured windows or falls into swimming pools. Not all pets are good swimmers — to read more about precautions to take in water with pets, click here. 


5. Give glow jewelry to people not pets. While the fluid inside those glow-in-the-dark necklaces, sticks and bracelets isn’t toxic, the ASPCA says excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still occur if they’re ingested, so it’s best to accessorize patriotic humans only.


6. Download the ASPCA’s app. Hopefully you’ll never have to use some of the missing pet resources available on the ASPCA’s mobile app, including the step-by-step instructions on searching for a missing pet and help creating a digital missing pet flyer, but there are other reasons to have it. It also manages pet records and provides news about pets and animal welfare. 


For more July 4th safety tips, visit the ASPCA’s website.


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Amy Jamieson

A former senior editor for People.com, Amy launched People Pets for People magazine in 2008. Now she writes about pets, lifestyle and more from her bucolic saltbox in Collinsville, Connecticut, usually with a cat in her lap and a dog at her feet.

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