News & Politics

Reminder: Leave Your Pets Inside During the July 4 Fireworks

Photograph via iStock.

While we humans may love celebrating America’s independence by setting off fireworks that explode for hours into the night of July 4, our pets hate it. The sound, smell and even sight of the colorful explosives terrify most pets, says Beth Mullen of the Washington Humane Society and Washington Animal Rescue League.

So if you head down to the Mall or another park for some fireworks-watching on Monday, leave the dog at home. The fear of fireworks can cause your pet to have a traumatic experience something similar to a human panic attack. This may cause pets to run away or be afraid of crowds and all things associated with fireworks in the future. So to avoid putting your pets in danger, it’s best to leave them at home.

Here are some other tips from Mullen to keep pets safe and comfortable during the festivities.

Create a calming indoor atmosphere

Try to create a tranquil environment by closing the window shades and curtains. Play music that will relax your pet or turn on the radio and television.

Construct a comfortable spot where your pets can take cover

Your cat or dog may get afraid and look for a place to hide during the fireworks. Before you leave the house, open a closet door or a door to any enclosed space with no windows for your four legged friends to rest until the excitement is over.

Shut and lock all outdoor-facing doors and windows.

Anxious animals can break through screens so make sure your home windows and doors are closed shut. Take extra caution if you are a dog owner and have lever-type door handles, because scared canines may jump up and try to open the door to outside.

Make sure your pets are wearing ID tags.

All pets should sport collars with ID tags or implanted with microchips, if not both. Check that the tag and microchip information is up to date and current, in case your pet escapes from home during the fireworks.


Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.