For most, the Fourth of July signifies a time for family, friends, food, fireworks, and fun. But for our furry family members, this likely isn’t the case. Many pets—and animals in general—suffer severe stress at the hands of fireworks. This stress level can range from mild and manageable (cuddling or hiding) to something more extreme (breaking through barriers or being destructive). Whichever category your pet falls into, there are ways to make them more comfortable and keep them safe! Here are a few tips from our partner, Best Friends Animal Society.

Keep pets safe at home

The easiest way to keep your pet safe is to keep them at home, indoors, and away from fireworks. If you’re hosting a party where you may have guests wandering in and out, be sure to lock your animals in a room with few escape routes. You should always keep an updated ID tag on pets with your information in case your pet is able to escape.

Create a comfortable environment

Although different pets have different stress levels, there are some key things you can do to make their time during the holiday more comfortable.

  • Turn on loud, calming music or TV (no action movies for Fido) to help drown out the noise.
  • Close all curtains, doors, and windows to help block out any outdoor activity.
  • Try a Thundershirt or similar products that use gentle pressure for calmness.
  • Feed and allow your pet to use the bathroom before fireworks start.
  • Provide them with their favorite toys, blankets, or comfort items.

If your pet becomes destructive from hearing fireworks, it may be a good idea to stay home with them or hire a dog sitter to sit with them until you are able to be home.

Hire a trainer

If your pet is having serious issues with things like fireworks, storms, or loud noises—it may be time to talk to a trainer. There are training methods such as desensitization and counterconditioning which may be beneficial in helping reduce stress on your pet.

The Fourth of July should be a time to celebrate freedom, but maybe not so much for your pets. If your pet does end up getting loose, be sure to contact your local animal control center, check shelters, post on social media, and enlist friends and family to help search.