July 1, 2024

Keeping Chicago Pets Safe on the Fourth of July

Author: Kristin Skelton
Featured image for “Keeping Chicago Pets Safe on the Fourth of July”

The Fourth of July is a time for celebration, with fireworks displays, backyard barbecues, and plenty of fun. For our furry companions, unfortunately, the loud noises and festivities can cause stress and anxiety. As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to ensure their safety and well-being. Today, we’re sharing some essential tips for keeping Chicago pets safe on the Fourth of July and in the days leading up to it.

Plan a Pet Sanctuary or Retreat

The best defense against the overwhelming sights and sounds of fireworks is a designated safe space for your pet. This could be a quiet room or closet in your house, preferably a space away from windows where fireworks might be visible and highly audible. Make sure the room is escape-proof by closing windows and securing doors to the exterior. Provide familiar comforts like their favorite bed, crate (only if crate-trained), chew toys, and a water bowl.

cat resting in closet

As an added layer against noise, consider using calming music or white noise to mask the sounds of fireworks. White noise works well but classical music and, believe it or not, reggae, have been shown to calm dogs best. This recording by HealingMate – Dog Music seems to be popular with YouTube users and is said to get positive results.

Consider Desensitization Training

dog with pet sitter

Ideally, desensitization training should begin weeks or even months before the Fourth of July. However, even a couple days of training can make a difference. Play recordings of fireworks at very low volumes while offering your pet praise and treats. Gradually increase the volume over time. The goal of this practice is to create a positive association with the sounds. As long as your pet is willing to receive treats, you can safely continue to train. It’s important to keep pets under threshold during all desensitization training.

Check Microchip and ID Tag Info

pet ID tags

Ensure your pet has a microchip and a well-fitting collar with an up-to-date ID tag. If your pet escapes due to fireworks anxiety, a tag and/or microchip can be their ticket home.

Double-check that all the information on the ID tag is accurate and current. And, log in to your microchip registry to ensure that the information that comes up when your pet’s microchip is read is yours and not the vet or rescue that implanted the chip.

Keep Your Pet At Home

While it can be tempting to bring your pet along to enjoy the fireworks display, it’s best to leave them at home in their safe space. Large crowds, unfamiliar environments, and the loud booms of fireworks can be terrifying for pets, even the most social butterflies. Fear can cause pets to run off and the last thing anyone wants is to spend a holiday searching for their missing pet.

If your pet has a history of intense fear, stay home with them. A pet left alone with their panic can become a danger to themselves and should be supervised for their safety and well-being.

Stay Alert During Social Gatherings

dog in picnic basket

The Fourth of July festivities come with hidden dangers for curious and food-motivated pets. Keep alcoholic beverages, lighter fluid, citronella candles, and insect repellents out of reach. These substances can be toxic if ingested.

Additionally, ensure leftover food scraps from barbecues are disposed of properly. Certain foods like grapes, onions, and chocolate can be harmful to pets. And, skewers can be a puncture hazard if ingested therefore discard of them in a sealed container to prevent accidental ingestion and injury.

Walk Early and On-Leash

dog walker chicago

If you take your pet outside on the Fourth of July, make sure you do so early. Keep walks short and ensure your dog is on a leash at all times. Even the most well-trained dog can bolt in fright if startled by fireworks. Avoid busy areas where fireworks displays might be happening nearby.

For cats, it’s best to avoid going out at all on July 4th and maybe the days leading up to it and after the 4th. Even well-trained adventure cats can become frightened and try to run away.

Feed Early & Adjust Portion

dog sitting chicago

The sound of fireworks may disrupt your pet’s appetite. For pets that struggle with noise phobia, it’s often recommended that they be fed a few hours before the fireworks displays begin to give them a chance to digest before their fight or flight response kicks in. If your pet has a history of vomiting or diarrhea when experiencing distress, consider reducing the portion size or giving them smaller meals throughout the day.

If you serve your pet dinner and he or she refuses to eat, respect their choice and don’t try to force or entice them to eat. Our cats and dogs know their bodies best. They will eat when they feel comfortable enough to do so.

Celebrate Responsibly

If you’re hosting a Fourth of July gathering, let your guests know that your pet is to stay indoors. Ask guests to refrain from loud noises or attempting to interact with your pet if they appear anxious. Especially if there are children around, supervise all interactions and separate your pet if they have a bite or loss history.

If you’re going out, remember to drink responsibility and get home safe. Your pet will be anxiously awaiting your return!

Monitor Your Pet

Throughout the day, keep an eye on your pet’s behavior. Signs of anxiety include pacing, panting, whining, excessive drooling, or hiding. If your pet exhibits any of these signs, provide extra comfort and reassurance. Consider investing in calming treats and/or pheromone plugins like Feliway for cats and ThunderEase for dogs. These products are available in most PetSmart locations and can help take the edge off.

floofins and co. chicago pet care

By following these tips, you can ensure your pet has a safe and stress-free Fourth of July. A little planning and preparation can go a long way in keeping your furry friend happy and healthy during this celebratory yet potentially terrifying time.

At Floofins & Co., we prioritize your pet’s health, happiness, and well-being. We too will be taking extra precautions with all the pets scheduled this week. Our goal is to ensure that they remain at home and at ease no matter what is going on outside.

If you are new to Floofins & Co. and interested in our dog walking and pet sitting services, please fill out our contact form. Once received, we will be in touch to further discuss your interest. You may also give us a call at 630-478-8915 or drop us a line at We are happy to discuss our services from Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5 PM. Learn more about our new client onboarding process here.

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