Ahead of Independence Day, Lady Freethinker would like to remind everyone about the importance of keeping dogs and cats safe during fireworks, which often cause animals to become extremely frightened and anxious.

These five tips will help ensure that both you and your companion animals can stay safe and comfortable on the Fourth of July.

1. Never bring animals to fireworks

Bringing animals to fireworks displays is never a good idea, as frightened dogs have been known to flee at the loud sounds of the explosions. In fact, July 5th often is the busiest day for animal shelters as they frequently have to deal with an influx of animals who escape during fireworks. If you want to be with your dog or cat, the best option is to stay home to help provide them with the comfort they need.

2. Walk your dog before fireworks start

Make sure to walk your dog before it gets dark and firework start. This will decrease the chance of them trying to get away and will help relieve any stress before the displays begin.

3. Animals should have microchips and also wear collars with identifying information

Because animals have been known to escape during fireworks, it’s important to make sure they are wearing proper collars with identifying information and a contact phone number in case they get away. Even if you aren’t planning on leaving the house, animals should still wear collars as they could always flee through a cracked door. Making sure your animals are microchipped also is a fantastic way to ensure that if they get out, you are giving them the best possible chance of being returned.

4. Make sure your companion animals have a safe place in the house

Make sure your cats and dogs have a cool, safe, enclosed space in the house or apartment to stay in, preferably away from windows. This could be in a large closet, bathroom, or basement. You can bring them something familiar too, like their bed and favorite toy to provide them even more comfort.

5. Play white noise

Playing white noise or soothing music is another great option to help drown out the sounds of the fireworks. You could also put on the television to help muffle out the noise.

And lastly, if you are able to stay home with your animals, please do! Dogs and cats often find comfort when they’re in the presence of their loving guardians. Just you being with them can make a world of difference for your dog or cat.