Celebrate a Risk-Free Fourth of July for Pets

This article was originally written for a U.S. audience and should be regarded as educational content only in Canada.

You may be so excited at the thought of celebrating everyone’s favorite summer holiday. Your pets might not be. There’s so much to love with BBQs, family/friend time and fireworks to light up the sky. As much as you want to enjoy the holiday and make your pet feel included, your pet might want to be the pawty pooper. Take the below precautions to ensure their comfort and safety.

Noise pollution

So many noises and bursts of light can freak your pet out. An extreme fear of sound can cause pets to injure themselves trying to escape or hide. Your pet can communicate that fear by trembling, frequent peeing, releasing gas, digging or howling. They might also become incredibly clinging, increasing your risk for injury.

You should also never leave your pet unattended outside during fireworks displays. Even if you think they’re safely contained in your yard, the fear caused by fireworks can cause pets to do unpredictable things like chew through fencing or jump over walls/fences in an attempt to escape.

If you have to leave your home to celebrate:

  • Run a fan

  • Play soothing music

  • Close windows and doors

Food toxicity 

BBQs hit different during the summer. Dogs love the smell of cooking meat and are tempted by all the delicious sides.

If you think your pet has ingested something poisonous, call your veterinarian or animal poison control immediately. The sooner you act, the better chance your pet has at a full recovery.

  • Indigestion

  • Upset stomach

  • Diarrhea

  • Pancreatitis

  • Parasites

  • Poisoning

  • Lacerations and obstructions

  • Seizures

  • Respiratory failure

Some of the foods we love to eat that can be toxic to pets include:

  • Avocados

  • Raisins

  • Xylitol

  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • The best case scenario for dogs indulging in their favorite summer foods is indigestion. This can mean an upset stomach and diarrhea. At worst, dogs can experience pancreatitis and poisoning for too much salt found in pretzels and chips.

Not everyone at the grill is a great cook. Undercooked meat can result in parasites. Many of these can be passed on to their pet parents. Cats and dogs dogs must avoid garlic, onions and chives.

Eating foods that don’t agree with their biology, pets can experience hemolytic anemia. This condition is defined by the bursting of red blood cells circulating throughout your pet’s body.


Poolside, beachside or lakeside, pets love a party. Unfortunately, five thousand pets drown each year. Taking the proper safety measures can greatly reduce this number.

Not all dogs know how to swim. Introduce pets to swimming when they are still young. Supervise pets and install pet-friendly ladders. You can also buy life jackets designed for four-legged family members.

Lost Pets

Too many people coming in and out of your pet can confuse them. A guest may leave a gate or door open. Booms from fireworks can ignite pets’ flight defense mechanisms.

Excessive panting

Make sure pets are microchipped and have id tags on their collars. This can boost the chances of being reunited if something does occur. Keep pets inside as much as possible.

Pet-safe bug spray, no citronella. They can cause pneumonia. Don’t wear or use glow sticks around pets. Chewing on them can be fatal.


Lighters, lighter fluids and matches use harmful chemicals that can disturb your pet’s breathing, skin and gut. Matches contain potassium nitrate, sulfur and heavy metals. Lighter fluid contains hydrocarbons that are dangerous upon contact. Put them away right after they are used.Overheating

Dogs can easily overheat. They pant to cool off. Their average body temperature is 101.5° F. Humans can tolerate higher temperatures better than their pets. If dogs can overheat, leading to heat exhaustion, heat prostration and heat stroke.

Pugs and Frenchies are at a higher risk of developing heat stroke. So are older dogs, pups, ailing dogs, obese dogs, dogs not used to hot weather and ones who have a history of heat-related disease.

Watch panting, as it is the earliest and most common signs of an overheated dog. Be concerned if you see excessive panting, unusually fast breathing and noisy breathing.

Only half of dogs survive heat stroke, many not making it past the first 24 hours of being overheated. If they do survive past 48 hours, the outcome is more positive.

Here’s how to prevent heat stroke:

  • Put pets in the shade or air conditioning with plenty of water

  • Use cool water, not ice cold, to cool your dog down before rushing them to the vet

  • Do not use ice to cool down your dog or cat

Call ahead to the vet to let them know you are heading in with a heat-related emergency.

Your pets can enjoy the 4th of July with the proper precautions. Spot Pet Insurance wants to help you celebrate your pet. Explore pet insurance coverage options that can help you focus more on care and less on cost, when unexpected accidents and illnesses happen to your pet.

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us everywhere else: