What’s not to love about the 4th of July? As humans, we get to enjoy barbecues, time at the lake, fun in the sun, and fireworks! But for our furry friends, the 4th of July is often the most stressful day of the year. In fact, more pets get lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year.

Before you head out to the weekend festivities, check out these tips to keep your four-legged companion safe:

1. Do not leave your pet in the car. The July 4th is forecast calls for temperatures in the 90s, meaning that the internal temperature of vehicles can reach 120 degrees – or more – in a matter of minutes, even in shaded areas and with windows down. Dogs, especially, can overheat very quickly inside a car, causing heatstroke, heat exhaustion, or even death. Also avoid putting pets in open truck beds, which can be unsafe and cause burns on paw pads.

2. Think about skipping the celebration and staying home with your pet to comfort them during this stressful weekend, or consider hiring a pet sitter or enlisting the help of a friend or family member to help your pet feel safe during the festivities.

3. Do not bring your pet out with you to watch firework displays or to 4th of July celebrations where you know there will fireworks. If you do, ensure they are securely leashed.

4. Keep your pet safely secured inside an escape-proof part of your home, and remove objects that could be broken or hurt animals should they destroy them or try to flee. Dogs left in yards, or left alone in homes, can find ways to escape fences, break through windows, and/or destroy objects when trying to find safety from the scary sounds.

5. Consider crating your pet – dogs particularly can benefit from a special den-like area to make them feel safe and secure.

6. When leaving your pet indoors, it’s often helpful to leave a television or radio on at a normal volume to help drown out the noise of the explosive fireworks and keep your pet company.

7. Keep pets busy, providing them with treats and toys to distract them from outside flashes or noises.

8. Just in case, make sure your pet has an updated license, ID tag, and microchip – this could be their ticket home!

9. If your pet exhibits extreme fearfulness or stress as a result of the fireworks your veterinarian may be able to prescribe medication to help alleviate your pet’s anxiety.

10. If your pet does escape, follow these steps to check and see if they have been brought to Larimer Humane Society. Also, check other local shelters and post photos of your pet on neighborhood social media pages, such as Nextdoor. Owners should have a clear photo of their pet to help with the identification process.

Larimer Humane Society’s Animal Protection and Control team will be standing by to help with emergency situations throughout the holiday weekend. If you experience an animal-related emergency, you may call 970-226-3647, ext. 7 for officer assistance. Let’s make it a Happy 4th of July for both people and pets!