Reminder Issued On Keeping Animals Safe During July 4th Celebrations

Lansing, MI - The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is reminding Michiganders to keep their animals safe during the upcoming July 4th holiday.

Beyond the summer heat, fireworks, festivities, and other types of loud noises can make animals scared and anxious – so, it is essential to take extra precautions during the holiday celebrations to keep them safe. 

“When celebrating Independence Day, we need to be mindful of the health and safety of our animals,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “First, it is important to consider the summer heat. Keeping animals cool and hydrated is vital to their overall health. Also, animals are often sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights, and strong smells, so keeping a close eye on them, ensuring they have up-to-date ID tags or registered microchips with current contact information, and taking extra steps to keep them calm is essential.”

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), more animals go missing around July 4th than any other time of the year. Fireworks can cause animals to become frightened and run away, making the days following Independence Day some of the busiest at local animal shelters.

“The 4th of July is a great time to celebrate and have fun, but it is important to remember your animals,” said Officer Juan DeLaTorre, President of the Michigan Association of Animal Control Officers. “Unfortunately, after the 4th of July weekend every year, we have several reports of missing animals, mostly dogs and cats. Always make sure animals are secure when there are fireworks. Also, don’t forget to have water and shelter for animals that are outside for a long period of time, and monitor them to make sure they are not becoming overwhelmed by all the activity as they could react and bite.”

Following these simple tips can help your animals stay safe and comfortable: 

  • Make sure animals have access to unlimited cool clean, fresh water and a place to cool down (shade, fans, cooling mats, etc.).
  • Ensure animals have ID tags or registered microchips with your current contact information.
  • Know your animal’s limits—how an animal tolerates stress and heat differ.
  • Keep pets indoors when people are likely to set off fireworks.
  • Open doors to the outside carefully, so an animal does not escape.
    • If an animal ever does escape or you find an animal without an owner, please contact local animal control or law enforcement.
  • Provide a separate space away from the noise to reduce stress – turning on a radio or TV may help to drown out loud noises.
  • Consider offering a special pet-friendly treat or new toy to help distract them from fireworks.
  • If dogs are taken outside, make sure they are kept on a leash, even if they are in a fenced area, as they could run due to an unexpected noise.
  • Keep horses and other livestock safely fenced in or in their barns.
  • Never set off fireworks near animals. 
  • Check in on animals periodically, especially when sounds are the loudest, to see how they are doing.
  • Before letting animals back outside, check your yard, pasture, etc. for firework debris.

For more advice on how to keep your animals cool, calm, and safe this holiday, please contact your veterinarian.

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