Pets spooked by Fourth of July fireworks? Here are tips to keep them safe at home

The Fourth of July is a blast for many people, but it can be one of the most frightening days of the year for animals.

July 5 is the busiest day of the year for many animal shelters as pets spooked by fireworks flee and end up in shelters’ care, according to American Humane. And fireworks often start in the days leading up to the holiday and can continue for days afterward.

Luckily, there are some precautions you can take to ensure pets stay safe during celebrations, brought to you by The Humane Society of the United States, well-known trainer Victoria Stilwell’s website and American Humane:

1. Keep pets away from fireworks. Pets’ sensitivity to sounds, sights and smells is far greater than ours, so keeping them away from the festivities is the best way to go. Keeping them inside your home is the safest bet. If someone can stay with them, even better.

2. Give dogs exercise and potty breaks earlier in the day. This helps tire them out a bit and makes keeping them indoors less challenging.

3. Create a safe space for them. From a bedroom to a bathroom to an inside dog crate, animals often feel safer in den-like spaces. Closing windows, blinds and curtains can helps to avoid visual and auditory stimulation. Giving them their favorite toys can help as well. Make sure they have access to water.

4. Turn up ambient noise. From fans to TVs to music, there are options to help drown out the sounds of fireworks. YouTube, Spotify and Pandora stations even have dog calming music.

5. If they need to go outside, make sure they’re on a leash. Pets can become “Houdinis” on the Fourth of July, even if they haven’t shown any interest in escaping beforehand.

6. Make sure your pets have properly fitting collars with I.D. tags. This, along with ensuring they’re microchipped, is the quickest way to get them back to you if they end up escaping. The Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento is offering free ID tags and $5 microchips in the days before the holiday.

Note: If your pets suffer from serious anxiety, you can ask your veterinarian for options as well.

In anticipation of an influx of pets, the Sacramento County Animal Shelter on Bradshaw will be waiving redemption fees for altered animals through July 12. And adoptions at the Bradshaw shelter are $25 throughout July. Front Street Animal Shelter will also allow owners to reclaim their lost pets for free (no fees) through July 9.

Let’s all have a fun and safe Fourth of July!