With the July 4th holiday approaching, pet owners should start planning to keep their pets safe, especially when fireworks will be going off. Loud, explosive fireworks can startle pets, as can the bright lights and burning odor. Pets can become upset by emotional responses, such as screams and shrieks, from family members or crowds. If you are thinking about shooting off fireworks at your home or attending a firecracker display with your pet, here are a few tips to keep your furry friend safe.

At Away Home & Pet Care, we take the safety of your pets seriously. Here are some tips to keep your furry family members safe this Independence Day.

Prepare in Advance

Before you leave for a celebration or guests begin to arrive at your home, give your pet some exercise and playtime. Offer food and water during normal eating times. Avoid changing the pet’s routine or sleep area to prevent confusion and anxiety. Follow the regular routine as closely as possible. If you have a pet sitter, provide written instructions, and be available by phone or text message if questions about your pet’s care should arise from the sitter.

Plan for Guests

If you’re still not sure about your holiday plans, start thinking about the best ways to protect your pet. For example, if you will be entertaining guests at home, remind them not to give your pet table scraps, alcohol, chocolate, milk, or other foods and substances that can upset an animal’s digestive tract. Inform guests ahead of time about your pet’s behaviors and preferences as to how it likes to be petted, or possibly not at all. You can always pen or crate your pet, or keep him or her in another room away from company if there is a chance the visitors will make the pet uneasy or accidentally elicit unfriendly behavior.

Offer Extra Reassurance

Before, during, and after your celebration, give your pet plenty of attention. This is not the time to ignore or limit affection to your beloved friend. He or she will sense something is up, whether you plan to leave the house and celebrate elsewhere or invite guests to visit at your home. A few extra pats, kind words, and treats can help to comfort your pet when the regular routine is changed, especially with high energy levels, loud noises, and strange faces.

Make Sure Your Pet Has ID

Whether you stay at home or go elsewhere to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, get a printable ID tag from one of the local stores or ensure your pet is wearing a collar with a tracking chip or home location and the owner’s contact information. Even if you plan to be home, a moment of excitement or a visiting child could accidentally lead to your pet getting loose outside. Animal shelters often report a higher than usual number of stray dogs or injured pets following a July 4th holiday. Hopefully, your pet won’t be turned loose outdoors, but if it happens, with proper identification you should be able to find him or her quickly.

Keep Your Pet At Home

When your holiday plans take you away from home for several hours, provide security and comfort for your pet in your absence. Provide a favorite toy, make sure the pet bed or furniture where the pet sleeps is accessible, and provide adequate food and water. You should also include an emergency toileting plan in case the neighbors’ fireworks or parties get loud and upsetting to your pet or if you stay away from home longer than expected. A pet door that is already in use should be fine. Or you can put down newspapers or keep the litter box clean so your dog or cat won’t have to hold back on elimination.

Or Keep Your Pet Safely Secured

If you will be taking your pet to someone else’s house or out to a public parade or fireworks display, in addition to proper identification bring a tether or post and leash to secure your pet. He or she is likely to become excited or even agitated around other people and unfamiliar sights and sounds and, becoming startled, take off running before you or whoever is holding the leash realizes what has happened. Bring a favorite chew snack or toy as well as perhaps a blanket for resting to keep your pet comfortably occupied during the festivities. Bring a water dish and pet food if you will away from home for several hours.

Don’t Give Your Pet Harmful Insect Repellents

While you or a guest might feel it is beneficial to spray your pet with an insect repellent to keep away fleas, ticks, and mosquitos, some products contain ingredients that are toxic to pets. Citronella, for example, is often used to repel various kinds of summer bugs, but it is not good for many animals. Do your research to find out which repellents, if any, can be safely used on your pet. Avoid spraying general mosquito repellent products into the air near your pet, as they may be harmful even when not directly applied to your pet’s skin or coat.

Be Careful Around Other People

Even friendly animals have been known to scratch or bite people they don’t know when the pet becomes fearful or upset. A pet that jumps up on people to be friendly may surprise them and inadvertently cause someone to push your pet away in an abrupt manner. Introduce your furry friend to others in a restrained manner to see if the person likes animals and is willing to accept your pet’s friendly overtures.

Don’t Overexert Your Pet

A new pet can be fun to show off to relatives and friends at a July 4th gathering. However, many unfamiliar pairs of hands and faces may cause a pet of any age to feel uncertain and perhaps stressed. Introduce your pet buddy to one person at a time and allow them to get acquainted before moving on to the next person. Try to provide a portion of the pet’s normal routine, such as bringing its regular feed dish and food, to reassure the animal with a sense of consistency.

Pets are often like young children. Owners that provide structure and security to their animals’ holiday celebrations will likely have the best pet experiences.

Hire A Professional, Licensed Pet Sitter

If your plans will be taking you out of town, be careful about who you hire as a pet sitter. There are many great pet sitting companies in Utah, and Away Home & Pet Care is one of Ogden’s oldest and most experienced full-time pet sitting businesses. As one of the highest rated pet sitting and dog walking companies in the entire state of Utah, Away Home & Pet Care takes great pride in ensuring your pets will be safe if you decide to leave town and leave your pooches at home.