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Posted By : Katy K.
Fireworks & Lost Pets: How To Prepare For July 4th

Last Updated on June 27, 2024

Fireworks & Lost Pets: How To Prepare For July 4th

As you prepare for the biggest celebration of the summer, you may not know that shelters across the nation are preparing for their busiest time of the year.

The number of missing pets skyrockets (no pun intended) in the days following July 4th. PawBoost can attest to this. On July 5th 2023, the number of lost pets reported to PawBoost was 107% higher than the daily average for the previous three weeks!

What is it about July 4th that has such an impact on the lost pet problem in the U.S.? Maybe unsurprisingly, it’s all about the fireworks.

Although the light shows are incredible for us to watch and see, for our furry friends the fireworks demonstrations can be a terrifying experience.

The resounding blasts and flashing lights can feel like a kind of attack on our pet’s senses – and such intense sounds and sights may be disorienting to dogs and cats, causing them to run off as they attempt to escape the noise and lights.

 Photo Credit: Pexels Photo Credit: john paul tyrone fernandez via Pexels

How To Prepare:

Before July 4th

  • Tag – You’re It: Use the week or so in advance of the holiday festivities to check that your pet has securely fastened and up-to-date identification tags and is microchipped with a functioning implant. It’s always a good idea to do these things, but it is extra important around Independence Day because of the high risk posed to your pet.

 Photo Credit: Maialisa via Pixabay Photo Credit: Maialisa via Pixabay

  • Snap To It: Double check that you have access to an up-to-date, high resolution photo of your pet. The odds are good that your phone’s photo gallery is already filled with hundreds of adorable photos of your fur baby, but in the event that it isn’t, we recommend using a high-quality camera to snap several up-close and full body shots prior to the start of the holiday celebrations.

On July 4th

  • Give Your Pet the Run Around Before the Blasts: PetFinder recommends taking your pets for an extra-long walk or throw the ball around a bit longer than you normally would the morning of any holiday celebrations. A tired, de-stressed pet is more likely to sleep throughout the day rather than become overly excited by all the new stimuli in their environments.

 Photo Credit: Pexels Photo Credit: Pixabay via Pexels

  • Keep Your Pets Indoors During the Fireworks Shows: Going to a fireworks display? Keep your pets in the house and safely indoors, ideally in an escape-proof part of your home. The closer the pet is to the resounding booms of fireworks, the more likely they are to run off away from the direction of the noise if they become frightened.
  • Securely Fasten all Doors, Gates and Windows: Before heading out for any July 4 celebrations or evening shows, check to ensure that all windows, doors and gates are securely closed and locked. Turn on fans or the air conditioning to help keep pets cool while you are out – you want to avoid creating any accidental escape routes by leaving windows or doors open.

 Photo Credit: Pexels Photo Credit: stiv xyz via Pexels

  • Create A Pet Safety Space: Create a small space inside your home where your pet can go if he/she becomes frightened. When pets are unable to orient loud and unfamiliar sounds, they may want to retreat to small, enclosed areas. So before any fireworks displays begin, move your pet’s crate or carrier into a central room of your house away from the windows. Closing all blinds and placing a curtain or towel over the crate can also help to reduce your furry loved one’s overexposure to unfamiliar stimuli during the fireworks event.
  • Keep Your Pet Calm by Using White Noise: You can create a “white noise” environment in your house by playing music or other sounds designed to calm your pet’s nervous system throughout the fireworks displays and up until bedtime.
  • Treat Yo’ Pet: While you are out enjoying the annual fireworks show, plan to leave something for your pet to enjoy (and stay distracted!) as well. Perhaps a frozen toy filled with your pup’s tasty treats or a toy with the preferred catnip for your favorite feline.

 Photo Credit: Lydia89 via Pixabay Photo Credit: Lydia89 via Pixabay

  • Consider Staying Home: If you have a particularly skittish pet, it may be best to opt for spending this year cuddling with your favorite four-legged friend on the couch instead of attending this year’s fireworks show in person. Your pet will feel more comfortable with the familiarity of your presence in the house and you can get some precious best paw pal time in – it’s really a win-win!

 Photo credit: Pexels Photo Credit: StockSnap via Pixabay

What To Do If Your Pet Becomes Lost

Despite careful preparation and planning, accidents can still happen. With all the overwhelming stimuli from the July 4th celebrations, you may come back from a day trip or fireworks display to discover that your pet is nowhere to be found.

If you find yourself in this situation, follow the steps found in this article on spreading the word about your lost pet. And of course, make sure you file a missing pet report with PawBoost!

 Photo Credit: Mixed Pet Photo Credit: wagwalking.com

For more information on how to best practice pet safety this July 4th holiday, be sure to check out these sites for additional tips and resources:


  • I have found several products that work for my dog; thunder-shirt helps him feel secure and I always keep an assortment of calming treats on hand. I also have medication from our veterinarian if the noise gets really loud.

    • I agree, Lindsay. I do the same thing. Thunder-Shirt does help, along with GNC pet calming pills, and if something serious – – – like during our last hurricane here in FL, I give a medication I have from our vet. Although, only if really needed.

    • Please be careful for this is true. Lost one of my dogs on the 4th of July years ago and never could find her.

    • What kind of over the counter medications i can give my 9 year old shitzu.she get very nervous with the fireworks

    • Awesome article! I wish more people would take the time to read and act accordingly.

  • Your articles are great… I believe things mention do work… Now if your pets does get scared like real scared and after wards refuses to eat or drink would that be from .. anxiety I didn’t see anything in the articles. ..

  • We have a large dog, and 1 benedryl calms him down quite well (70#s). Also, if it’s legal where you live, CBD really helps both he and our lab mix. The bottle will have a recommended dose by pounds. Both are terrified. Several years ago, I gave River, our larger dog, a prescription from the vet…it worked on pretty much immobilizing him, but when I researched it after the “holiday nightmare” had passed, I found it only calms their muscles, and does not help the anxiety at all! Poor dog couldn’t move, and he was still terrified…so sad to watch. Be sure to read up on what the prescription drugs do before you give it to your pet.

  • I bought three thunder shirts and I have to put on two noisy fans they have to be under the covers on my bed also air conditioner and door shut….it’s not easy they get so scared..

  • Thanks for the Great reminder ❤

  • We take our dog out camping in the forest. Fireworks aren’t allowed in National forests. I take a calming medication with me just in case. We keep him in the hallway at home if we are home, it will buffer the sound if you close all the doors off the hallway. Loud white noise, started several days ahead of the fireworks will get them use to hearing that and can keep them calmer.

  • Personally, thank you very much for those recommendations. I have two furry ones that I love and I keep them inside and on July 4th I try to leave the TV on high volume or loud music so that the noise means less to them if people really knew the damage. for them as puppies they would not leave them outside some problems cause them to freezing, uncontrolled attempts to escape and hide, and tremors. Please please be aware they also feel

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