How to keep your pets happy and safe this Fourth of July

KGO logo
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

From fireworks to barbecues, many of the things we humans enjoy about Independence Day aren't necessarily as much fun for our four-legged friends.

Loud noises and large crowds can be scary for animals, so fireworks aren't really their thing. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, July 5 is the busiest day of the year for most shelters. In 2013, one shelter says it saw a 140 percent increase in lost pets after the Fourth.

As you consider whether to invite your furry friends to join in the festivities this weekend, check out these tips before making a decision:

  • Get your pets inside well before it gets dark. Even outdoor cats should be brought inside for the night.
  • Close up your house -- scared animals are great escape artists and will find a way out.
  • To lessen the startling boom of fireworks, leave on the TV or radio for background noise.
  • Make sure your animals are wearing ID tags and, if they're microchipped, that the information is up-to-date.
  • If you do lose your pet, don't wait to start looking. Knock on doors, call your local shelter and check Craigslist.

Fireworks aren't the only Fourth of July issue pet owners should consider. Keep an eye on your little ones all day long.

  • Don't leave alcoholic beverages where animals can reach them. Pets get drunk too, and it's not fun or safe for them.
  • Keep matches, lighter fluid and citronella products out of reach. All contain chemicals that can be dangerous for pets.
  • While glow necklaces might be a hit with kids playing outside after dark, they're not a good idea for animals. The luminescent chemicals can cause gastrointestinal irritation, and you don't want them eating the plastic tubing and connectors either.

Check out more Fourth of July Safety Tips from the ASPCA.