PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Fourth of July is coming up, and experts shared tips on how to keep pets safe during outdoor events throughout the holiday.

Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, shared five safety tips to keep pets happy and healthy as you celebrate the Fourth.

  1. Limit sun exposure. Fourth of July parties and barbecues can be a long day for pets to be out in the sun, which can lead to heat stroke or sunburn. Make sure all pets have fresh water, a place to lay down in the shade, and a towel or blanket to avoid paws burning on hot pavement.
  2. Watch your party food. Pets are much more likely to get some table scraps at an event like a Fourth of July barbecue, and many of those scraps will not be good for them. Fatty meat, onions, garlic, and chocolate should be kept in the hands of humans and away from pets. Keep an eye on sharp kebab skewers as well.
  3. Check for ticks. Even if your pet is regularly treated for flea and tick prevention, be sure to keep an eye on their fur on days with increased outdoor time. Check their feet, ears, face, neck, and tail, and brush their fur when they come inside.
  4. Beware of open water. When humans are hot, a cold swim is often welcome; however, not all pets can or feel comfortable swimming. If your pet is not wearing a flotation device, keep a close eye on them on the beach or at the pool.
  5. Handle fireworks and loud noises with care. Strategies will vary by pet, but Dr. Wooten recommends keeping pets contained, possibly in a room with their crate or toys, and playing calming music. Leave an item of clothing with your scent on it to remind your pet that you’re coming home. Finally, if necessary, a thunder shirt can calm anxiety, and veterinarians can provide antianxiety medications as well.

Contact your veterinarian for more tips on keep cats and dogs safe this Fourth of July.