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How to protect your pets this 4th of July

Food. Fireworks. Parties. While many people love the July 4 holiday, it can be traumatic for pets who have a phobic reaction to the loud sights and sounds that are synonymous with Independence Day celebrations.

With dogs and cats getting spooked and running away from yards, doors, and even screened windows to escape the chaos, the day can go from being festive to fraught for pet owners, too.

Dr. Erin Katribe, medical director at Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of cats and dogs in America’s shelter in 2025, suggests being proactive as much as possible by following the four tips below:

  • Bring all pets indoors whenever neighborhood fireworks displays are likely to occur and secure them in a quiet room. Close the windows, draw the curtains, and surround them with their favorite toys and treats. It can help to play calming music or turn on the television to drown out the frightening sounds.
  • Always keep pets away from lit fireworks. Some pets will chase after the bright moving objects and are at risk of being burned or blinded in the process.
  • Be sure to keep unlit fireworks out of reach, as fireworks contain substances that are toxic if ingested.
  • Ensure your pets are wearing identification tags with your current contact information. Also, make sure their microchip contact information is up-to-date.

By following the above safety precautions, pets can stay safe at home and out of already crowded shelters.

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“I recommend that all pet owners find out the contact information of their local emergency clinic and local shelters ahead of time, so that it’s quickly within reach in those unexpected moments,” cautioned Katribe.

Best Friends Animal Society recently launched its new HOME campaign to inspire people to adopt a pet. Data shows that if just 6 percent more Americans would adopt rather than purchase a pet from a breeder or store, America would be no-kill.

If you are looking for a dog or cat, now is an ideal time to bring home a new best friend. To find a local shelter or rescue near you, visit bestfriends.org/home.