As fun as Fourth of July festivities are for your family and friends, your furry family members might not feel the same way. We wanted to make you aware of any hidden hazards that could upset or injure your pet and cause your holiday to take a bad turn.


The biggest pet safety tip we have is to keep pets away from fireworks. Similar to the disruptive noise and light during thunderstorms, the noise and the lights during fireworks can spook your pet.

A study by the University of Bristol found that the most common responses of fear in pets during fireworks are

  • Shaking,
  • Hiding,
  • Vocalizing (such as loud barks), and
  • Seeking out people.

Pets are more likely to run away during fireworks because they are trying to get away from the disruptions. If your pet does run away, you can check out our blog for steps to follow, which should help get your pet home safely.

If your pet has to be around fireworks, make sure to keep them a safe distance away. Getting too close to a lit firework can cause serious burns to your pet’s face and/or paws.

You should also keep pets away from unlit fireworks, as they contain dangerous chemicals like sulfur, potassium nitrate, and barium and metals such as mercury, copper strontium, and phosphorus. Ingesting any of these materials can lead to severe consequences and illnesses for your pet. (If your pet does ingest any of these materials, contact your veterinarian immediately.)

A fear of fireworks can be treated with medication. If you are interested in this option, you should contact your vet.

Food and Drinks

With picnics and rides around the lake, it can be easy to forget to clean up lunch or dinner. But leaving food and drinks out is another danger during the Fourth.

Pets can easily get into anything that is left out in the open and eat something they’re not supposed to. You can check out our blog on safe summer foods for a list of what they can and can’t eat.

Additionally, you should be extra careful with pets around alcoholic beverages. In a pet drinks something alcoholic, it can cause them to exhibit signs of

  • Disorientation,
  • Lethargy,
  • Slow breathing,
  • Muscle tremors, and
  • Loss of consciousness.

Other more severe cases, with a large amount of alcohol consumption, can lead to a coma or death for your pet.

Sunscreen and Insect Repellent

Whether your Fourth of July activities take place during the day or at night, both sunscreen and bug spray can be hazardous for your pet’s health.

If you are the one using it, make sure you keep it out of your pet’s way. Ingesting sunscreen can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy while ingesting bug spray could lead to neurological issues for your pet.

If you want a full list of ingredients to avoid, Veterinary Partner has this blog to check out.

If you plan to apply either sunscreen or bug spray for your pet, you should double check that it is safe to use on pets. You can find pet safe options online or at local pet stores. If you can’t find any labeled specifically for pets, look for the most sensitive option, which is usually for babies or toddlers.

In case of an emergency, always contact your veterinarian.