Fourth of July safety tips for pets

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Animal shelters are warning pet owners to keep a close eye on their pets over Fourth of July weekend.

The number of lost animals usually increases by 30 percent between July 4 and July 6, generally making it the busiest weekend of the year for shelters. Dogs and cats tend to get spooked by the loud sound of fireworks and run away even if there is an invisible fence.

“The thing with an invisible fence, there’s a shock when you cross over the fence line but once they’re out, it’s over. Once they cross that line in a state of panic, they’re gone,” said Ellen Robinson of FACE Spay/Neuter Clinic.

Connie Swaim with IndyHumane agrees that invisible fences don’t cut it.

“If a dog is truly terrified, the thought of that little shock that he’s going to get is not going to stop him from leaving a fenced yard,” said Swaim.

If your dog is still an escape artist, experts say to make sure they’re wearing an ID tag with updated contact information and are microchipped. Owners should also have updated photos to post on Indy Lost Pet Alert. The site allows people to connect with one another if they’ve lost or found animals.

Even if your dog is inside your home during the fireworks, they could still get jumpy. IndyHumane recommends turning on a TV or classical music to sooth and distract animals.

Experts also warn of dangers before the fireworks begin. Citronella candles, sunscreen and alcohol can all be risky for pets.

“Dogs love the smell of the grill, so if you’re outdoors grilling you want to make sure that your pet isn’t going to jump up and put his paws on the hot grill,” said Swaim.

Swaim also recommends pet owners know how to contact their emergency 24-hour veterinarian if something were to go wrong. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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