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According to BluePearl, July 4th is the busiest day for pet-related emergencies, with emergency rooms more than doubling in activity.  The combination of heat, food, festivites, and fireworks can create the perfect storm, elevating a pet’s risk of heat stroke, anxiety, and even sickness due to the consumption of holiday indulgences designed for humans. Plus, people take their dogs to firework displays or cookouts thinking it will be fun, when the loud noises can actually terrify pets causing them to run off and lose their way. This Independance Day, we ask that you and your pets celebrate safely by following these seven tips:

1. Keep pets indoors at all times and provide a safe space where your pet can hide away. It might be tempting to have your pet join in on the festivities, but even obedient pets can get startled and react out of panic. A panicked pet can run off to escape the noise, so it is best to keep your pet safely inside. You can also provide a sanctuary space in a quiet area of your home, offering your pet a place to feel secure. We also recommend keeping an eye on your pet throughout the day, especially if you know your pet is frightened by fireworks. 

2. Make sure your pet is wearing a current ID tag, and be sure that the microchip information is up to date. The easier it is to identify your pet, the better. 

3. Have a current photo of your pet on hand. In case your pet does manage to get loose, having an up to date photo will allow you to get the word out as fast as possible. 


4. Refill anti-anxiety medications ahead of time. Clinics are not always able to refill your pet’s medication last minute, so plan ahead. If you don’t yet have prescribed medication but your pet has anxiety issues, call your veterinarian. 

5. Use other calming products such as the Comfort Zone Calming Diffuser for cats or the Kong Anti-Anxiety Shirt for dogs. These helpful products can safely reduce anxiety and are easy to find at most pet stores, including the Virginia Beach SPCA’s main shelter and Pet Supplies and Adoption Center. By purchasing pet products at one of our locations, proceeds go directly back to helping homeless animals in Hampton Roads. You can also try putting on some calming music to help push the sounds of fireworks to the background. 

6. Have treats or a new toy on hand to help distract your pet throughout the evening. Keeping treats on hand will distract your pet from the human food, and the toys will keep your pet’s mind engaged. You can also prepare for the night by providing lots of play and exercise throughout the day. This will help work off some extra energy and contribute to a more relaxed state of mind. 

7. NEVER light fireworks around your pets. Lighting fireworks around your pet is not only dangerous, but could cause your pet to panic and inflict unintentional self-injury. Be safe and responsible. 


If your pet does end up running off, take action immediately. For resources and tips on what to do if your pet is lost, please click here.