As the country prepares for barbeques and fireworks this Fourth of July weekend, Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare would like to offer some tips on how to keep pets safe and calm during the celebrations.

“Our goal is to help keep everyone’s pets safe, but if they do get out, we want to reunited them their families as quickly as possible,” says Tracey Belew, Animal Welfare Director.

“June is Pet Preparedness Month, and this is a great way to close it out,” says Emergency Management Director Spencer Hawkins. “It may not be severe weather or similar emergency, but we know there will be a lot of activity during the holiday weekend that may scare our pets. It’s best to prepare for that ahead of time.”

If your animal does escape the house or yard, check with Animal Welfare to see if it was picked up or turned in. You can also send pictures of your missing animal to the shelter through Facebook , and they will post the pictures so people in the area can help keep a look out for them.

  • It is safer to keep pets at home during celebrations instead of bringing them to your neighbor’s party.
  • Keep pets in the house, rather than in your yard. They will be a lot happier indoors, and not tempted to leap over a fence to find you.
  • Dogs can be startled by the loud noise of fireworks. Before the festivities begin, put your pet in a safe room where he can feel comfortable. If they are crate trained, put them in the crate covered with a blanket to make them feel secure.
  • Block outside sights and sounds by lowering the blinds and turning on the television. Play soothing music in the background to counteract the cacophony during the fireworks.
  • If your pet seems overly anxious, spend some time and speak soothingly to help them to relax.
  • Avoid giving them food scraps from the grill. While tempting to our pets, any sudden change to your pets’ diet can cause an upset stomach upset. In addition, some foods like onions, avocado, grapes, and raisins can be toxic.
  • Avoid spraying your pet with insect repellent and only use special sunscreen that is intended for animal use.
  • Keep your pets away from matches and lighter fluid. They can be extremely irritating to the stomach, lungs, and central nervous system, if ingested.
  • Make sure that your pet is wearing a secure collar with an ID tag. Should your dog get scared, escape, and run away, this may be the only way they will get back home.
  • Collars and tags can fall off so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Keep contact information current with your recovery service provider.
  • Have a recent photo of your pet to show in the event they get out of the house.
  • If you’re spending time outside with your pet, keep a portable water bowl so they don’t get dehydrated.
  • Limit time on hot surfaces or in direct sunlight to reduce the risk of your pet overheating, or burning their paws.