More pets go missing during the Fourth of July holiday than any other weekend of the year. While most people are excited by the celebration, pets may become distracted by the festivities. Loud noises may startle dogs, and those tempting smells coming from your neighbor’s barbecue could encourage them to travel for a visit.

During this Fourth of July weekend, keep the safety of your pet in mind. Follow these tips to prevent harmful accidents or missing furry companions:

  • Above all, you should keep your dog inside – they are the safest and easiest to keep track of when indoors. If possible, they should remain in an isolated room without doors or windows. People constantly going in and out may provide opportunities for them to escape.
  • Exercise your dog early in the day – they’ll be easier to handle and calmer overall.
  • During fireworks keep dogs in a quiet, comfortable room. Turn on the radio or TV for familiar noise. Do not take them to public firework displays.
  • Some pet owners have had success with ThunderShirts – anxiety treatment jackets that may calm your dog through gentle pressure.
  • PA law requires dogs to be registered and licensed, and it’s the easiest way to reconnect pets with owners in case they get lost. While microchips are helpful, not everyone is aware of them. Make sure you have identification on your pet at all times and take a current photo of them – just in case.

If you do choose to take your dog outside, take the following precautions:

  • Keep your dog away from fire and encourage your family and friends to play with them away from flames.
  • Watch for people dropping garbage and bones – dogs could try to eat them. Place plenty of garbage bins out for people to use.
  • Keep them cool. Make sure they always have access to an outside water source — it’s the best way to keep them hydrated. Provide shade and if you see signs of overheating – such as panting, excessive drooling, muscle tremors – bring them indoors.
  • Be mindful of what you have sitting out – some foods are deadly to dogs. Keep treats nearby so that guests can give your pup a pre-approved snack.
  • If your dog runs off, call the police and animal control agencies right away!

About Animal Friends

Animal Friends, a premiere companion animal resource center, has been serving the needs of the pets and people of Pittsburgh, PA since 1943. The organization’s progressive programs have been nationally recognized and include pet rescue, shelter and adoption services, behavior classes, educational and therapeutic outreach and more. To learn more, visit


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