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How to Be Considerate of Your Neighbors with Pets during July 4th Celebrations


Written by Mel Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 06/30/2020, edited: 05/24/2022


Search the internet for “how to keep your dog safe on July 4th” and you’ll find tons of advice geared toward pet parents. But it takes a village to raise a fur-child.

Planning a festive Fourth complete with a star-spangled fireworks show and your favorite tunes? “Paws” to consider your neighbors. More dogs go missing on July 4th than any other holiday. Here are a few tips on how to be considerate of your neighborhood’s canine residents and help keep them safe.

Tell your neighbors about your July 4th party

There's a good chance that fireworks and similar July 4th celebrations will frighten your four-legged neighbors. After all, their hearing is 5 times more sensitive than yours! Fearful cats and dogs looking to escape the noise and activity might clear tall fences or bolt into traffic.

Telling your neighbors about your party beforehand, even if you won’t be shooting fireworks, can help keep your local canine and cat communities safe and calm. It will also give your neighbors time to plan some pet-friendly Fourth of July activities, take their pup for a walk, and get them settled in before the festivities kick off.

When chatting with your neighbors about your party, be sure to let them know:

  • what time the party will start and end
  • "ruffly" how many guests you're expecting
  • what activities you've planned that might affect their pets

Ask your neighbors to share their concerns and questions with you as well. Open and honest communication is key for preventing and resolving disagreements.

pug dog wearing a sign that says "please don't buy fireworks, i am scared"

Talk to your neighbors about their pets' temperament and health

Accidents happen — your neighbor's dog could slip off their leash while on a walk and head straight for your buffet table, or a frightened indoor cat might slip through an open window and into your yard just in time for the fireworks show.

Before your party, talk to your neighbors about their pets' behavior and health concerns. Here are a few questions you might like to ask:

  • Do your pets have any health concerns that I should know about?
  • Is your pet afraid of fireworks or loud noises?
  • Does your pet tend to escape your yard?
  • Are your pets trained to come when called?

Another quick tip: If you don't already have it, ask your neighbor for their phone number or another form of contact. That way, you'll be prepared to handle any potential mishaps.

Discuss safety concerns with your guests ahead of time

Whether you're hosting a small barbecue or an all-out block party, let your guests know of any safety concerns beforehand. Pet-related safety concerns include:

  • foods that are toxic to dogs and cats
  • abiding by noise ordinances
  • how to safely interact with an unfamiliar dog

Mind the time

If you live in a densely populated area, partying and letting off fireworks into the wee hours of the morning is a surefire way to get on your neighbors’ bad side. (Not to mention it might put you in hot water with local authorities.) If it’s getting late, head indoors to continue your celebration.

Remember the humans, too

Pets aren't the only ones who get spooked by fireworks. Loud noises can also trigger PTSD and anxiety attacks in people, notably veterans. (It’s a cruel irony that the brave people who make July 4th celebrations possible are more likely to suffer because of them.)

If you absolutely must let off fireworks, consider choosing small ones, like sparklers or poppers, instead of larger and more dangerous fireworks like Roman candles. Not only will your neighbors thank you, but you'll also have a decreased risk of firework-related accidents and injuries.

Be a good neighbor this Independence Day

Much of the responsibility for keeping dogs calm on July 4th lies with the pet parents. But the whole neighborhood can pitch in to ensure everyone stays safe and sound.

Planning a relaxed night in with your woofer this Independence Day? Share some snaps with us on Instagram @wag! We love seeing your precious puppers. Don’t forget to tag #wagwalking — we might even share your four-legged Instagram influencer on our feed!

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