July 4th Safety Tips for Pets

We are lucky enough that this year’s July 4th holiday falls on a Thursday….that means we know a lot of our pet parents in southeast Michigan are going to be taking that extended holiday weekend break. Can’t blame ya! Perfect time to get away for a 4 day weekend if you can swing it. Just to let all of our readers know, we will be CLOSED on July 4th enjoying the holiday, but you can expect normal hours at all of our locations on the 3rd and 5th.

Planning on spending July 4th with your pets? We certainly intend to, whether it’s a quick camping trip, barbecue, pool day, or something else, we’re here to help make sure nothing bad happens to your fur family this holiday.

July 4th Safety Tips for Pets

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Proper Identification

Make sure all your bases are covered with proper identification tags or collars for your pets. If you’ve got a pet that fancies themselves as an escape artist, that situation combined with one where people are coming and going from your home (potentially leaving doors open as they do) leaves an opportunity for pets to break free. Don’t have to tell you how much that would ruin the holiday! So for your pet’s safety on July 4th, make sure they have proper ID and if possible are microchipped! We have a tag maker at your local Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies store in Ann Arbor and Chelsea that we’d love to help you make a custom ID with!

Prepare The Place

If your pet has been anxious during these times in the past due to fireworks, or even if they get anxious with loud noises or thunder, then it seems reasonable to assume that things won’t have changed unless they’ve been undergoing behavioral therapy. Make sure your indoor and outdoor environments are safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, a bolting dog is not what you want ot deal with. Make improvements if needed to make the area more secure. It’s not a bad idea to keep your pet indoors at all times.

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Insect Repellant

If it’s for humans, it’s not for pets. If it says it’s for pets, then it’s probably safe. The same tip applies to applying “people” sunscreen on your pet. What isn’t toxic to humans can be toxic to animals. The ASPCA lists the poisonous effects of sunscreen on your pet as, “…drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.” DEET, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues. Stop by your your local Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies stores in Ann Arbor (2270 W. Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103) or Chelsea (1192 S. Main St, Chelsea) for a better option.

Leave Your Pet At Home

If you’re going out for a fireworks celebration, party, or other public event…we hate to say it, but it’s better to leave your dog at home. The safest place for your pet is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar and noisy place. The combination of too many people and loud fireworks will make your beloved pet freak out and desperately seek shelter. Locking them in the car is also not an option.

And If Your Home is the Party Place?

If you’re hosting guests, enlist them! Ask for help to keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant. Avoid the urge to feed your pets table scraps or other foods intended for people. Be especially careful to keep them away from these common foods that are actually toxic. Like beer and chocolate, there are other festive foods that could harm your pet. Onions, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough are all possible hazards for dogs and cats.

During the Party

It might look cute, but your pet could chew up and swallow glowsticks or glowing jewelry. The ASPCA states that while not highly toxic, “excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.” If you wouldn’t eat it, it’s not a good idea to let Fido eat it.

While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.

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After the Party

Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat. If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers, plastic silverware, and leftovers.


The safest and best bet for celebrating this Fourth of July with your pets is to exclude them from holiday festivities, at least this time around. Instead, find a safe, secure spot in the home for your pets while you go out and enjoy the loud bangs, bright lights and spectator fun. Your pets will appreciate the quiet a lot more than you’ll enjoy the noise.

Want to make it extra special for them? Stop in at Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies in Ann Arbor or Chelsea and get your dog or cat a new toy or chew to keep them occupied and satisfied for a few hours. We’ll be waiting for you!