Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

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Fourth of July may be fun for people; for pets, not so much.

“Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, who can become frightened or disoriented by the sound,” said Donna Whitaker, executive director of Hawaii Island Humane Society. “Avoid taking your pet to gatherings that will have fireworks. Keep your pets indoors in a sheltered, quiet area.”

Stray pets can get hit by cars, hurt by other animals or become lost.

Last year, nearly 46 pets ended up at Hawaii Island Humane Society on the eve of Fourth of July and the first few days after the holiday. The year before, 63 pets came in. Some were quickly reunited with their owners because the pets were licensed and microchipped.


Microchipping costs $10 at any one of the three Hawaii Island Humane Society shelters starting Thursday, June 29, through Monday, July 3. Normally, the cost is $20.

Additional Tips on How to Protect Your Pet During the Fourth of July Holiday

  • Some pets become destructive when frightened so remove dangerous objects your pet may chew. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep your pet company while you’re away.
  • Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard. In their fear, pets that normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and get lost.
  • If you know your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult your veterinarian to see if anxiety-relieving medication is appropriate.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, within minutes.
  • If you are walking your dog near fireworks displays, be sure your pet is secured on a leash in case it tries to bolt.
  • Never use fireworks around pets. 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.
  • Don’t give your pet “table food.” If you are having a backyard barbecue, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. 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.

If you find a lost pet after the fireworks, call or bring the animal to the Hawaii Island Humane Society so the animal can be cared for at the shelter.


“Many times, the shelter is the first place people will look when they have lost their pet,” said Whitaker. “The best way to reunite an animal with its family is to bring him or her to the Hawaii Island Humane Society. If you have found a pet during the hours the shelter is closed, please confine them until you can bring them to the shelter.”

If you lose your pet, file a report as soon as possible with Hawaii Island Humane Society and stop in the shelter closest to where your pet was lost.

The Hawaii Island Humane Society will be closed on Tuesday, July 4, and will reopen with regular operating hours on Wednesday, July 5.


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