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July 4th, Fireworks, and Your Pets



The loud crack and boom of fireworks can frighten animals and cause even the best behaved pets to act out of character. A startled dog or cat may hide or try to escape the noise by digging under, chewing through or climbing over fences. To help make the holiday fun for humans and safe for pets, the Humane Society of Missouri has a few tips for this Fourth of July holiday.


Give your pet a quiet, cool place to retreat inside where sounds are less intense. Dogs and cats are more sensitive to loud noises than people are, and loud noises can be painful to their ears. Keeping them inside will also protect them from stray fireworks or from those who may seek to intentionally harm pets with fireworks. Their retreat could be a basement or an interior room like a bathroom with access to clean, cool water.

Close all windows and turn on a radio or television to mask the sounds. Have your pet’s favorite toys and bed to comfort him.

Keep your dog at home, but if you can’t avoid taking your dog to the festivities, keep your pet on a short, secure leash at all times and watch for signs of stress. Never use a retractable leash in these situations. Have a back-up plan should your dog become overwhelmed by the activities.

Make certain your dog wears a collar and ID tag at all times. For more secure identification, pet owners should consider microchipping as a permanent way to identify pets and help ensure a safe return if lost. The Humane Society of Missouri offers microchip IDs at its three Veterinary Medical Centers – St. Louis City, Westport Area, Chesterfield Valley. Keep your veterinarian’s phone number handy in case of any medical emergencies.


Don’t take pets to festivities. The excitement and noise could cause them to become nervous and run away.

Don’t let your pet loose or leave your pet in a yard unattended during the holiday weekend, even if you are only a few backyards away. A stray bottle rocket zipping through your yard could frighten or injure your dog.

Don’t confine a fearful dog on a chain or in a small area such as a crate. This could increase his panic.

Don’t punish your pet for his behavior related to the loud noises. It will only make him more afraid.


Please remember when temperatures and heat indices soar this summer, pet owners are advised to take special precautions to keep pets safe. It is critical to never leave a pet in a parked car when the outside temperature is above 70 degrees, even with the windows cracked. High temperatures can be deadly for pets left without a cool, shady place to rest and plenty of water.

To report an animal in heat-related jeopardy, call the Humane Society of Missouri ANIMAL CRUELTY HOTLINE (314) 647-4400.