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MDARD Reminds Michiganders to Help Keep Animals Safe While Celebrating Independence Day

From keeping cool to staying calm, there are a number of ways to ensure animals are protected throughout any celebration

LANSING, MI — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is reminding Michiganders to keep their animals safe during the upcoming July 4th holiday. Beyond the summer heat, loud noises from fireworks and festivities can make animals scared and anxious so, it is essential to take extra precautions during the holiday celebrations to keep them safe. 

"When celebrating Independence Day, we need to be mindful of the health and safety of our animals," said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland, DVM, MS, DACVPM. "The intense heat, unexpected sounds, flashing lights, and unfamiliar environments can all be a source of stress. Taking steps to ensure animals are cool, hydrated, and calm is essential to their overall health."

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), more animals go missing around July 4th than any other time of the year. Fireworks can cause animals to become frightened and run away, making the days following Independence Day some of the busiest at local animal shelters.

Following these simple tips can help your animals stay safe and comfortable: 

  • Make sure animals have access to unlimited cool, clean, fresh water and a place to cool down (shade, fans, cooling mats, etc.).
  • Keep your animals away from others that appear ill or have an unknown health status. Also, if your animals are showing any signs of illness, keep them away from other animals and people.
  • Ensure animals have ID tags or registered microchips with your current contact information.
  • Avoid shared bowls and toys.
  • Know your animal's limits how animals will tolerate stress and heat differ.
  • Keep animals indoors when people are likely to set off fireworks.
  • Open doors to the outside carefully, so an animal does not escape.
    • If an animal ever does escape or you find an animal without an owner, please contact local animal control or law enforcement.
  • Provide a separate space away from the noise to reduce stress turning on a radio or TV may help to drown out loud noises.
  • Consider offering a special pet-friendly treat or new toy to help distract them from fireworks.
  • If dogs are taken outside, make sure they are kept on a leash, even if they are in a fenced area, as they could run due to an unexpected noise.
  • Keep horses and other livestock safely fenced in or in their barns.
  • Never set off fireworks near animals. 
  • Check in on animals periodically, especially when sounds are the loudest, to see how they are doing.
  • Before letting animals back outside, check your yard, pasture, etc. for firework debris.

For more advice on how to keep your animals cool, calm, and safe this holiday or if you have any other animal health-related concern, please contact your veterinarian.