More Pets Lost or Injured During July 4th Celebrations than Any Other Time of Year


Our nation’s Independence Day celebrations can be the most stressful and dangerous holiday for your pets. The noise and sight of fireworks frighten many of them. The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County wants to remind you about a few common sense steps to take to protect your pet during the July 4th festivities.

Fireworks/Household pets:

  • Keep your pets inside or in a secure kennel, especially when you are not home. Extremely loud noises can be quite stressful to animals. With their sensitive hearing, fireworks can cause your pet to panic and some may bolt from their home in terror. Even normally calm pets may bite or scratch out of fear or anxiety.
  • Leave a TV on, or play soft music on the radio. This may help soothe your pet.
  • Close the blinds/curtains and keep the lights on. Your pet won’t see the bursts of light outside.
  • Other precautions should be considered prior to fireworks season, such as Thundershirts, calming essential oils, and as a last resort, a prescription for the right dosage from your vet to help calm your pet during anxiety. Do not give any type of human medication to your pet.
  • If you are out of town, make arrangements early for a qualified pet sitter and provide the sitter with emergency contact numbers.

    Horses or livestock:

  • Make sure no fireworks are set off near them or your barn. Fireworks can ignite a fire or set off a stampede.
  • Feed your animals during fireworks. This may help distract them.
  • Leave barn lights on to diffuse the bright fireworks in the sky.
  • Fans blowing on high in the barn can buffer loud noises.
  • Talk radio may provide a calming human presence.
  • Be sure to have an ID on each horse in case they manage to escape.
  • If you are out of town, book a farm sitter early and provide them with emergency contact numbers.

    Recovery of Lost Pets:

  • The highest number of lost or injured pets occurs during the 4th of July holiday. The fear and chaos of the fireworks cause them to try to escape and many succeed. If they have no identification, they have little chance of being reunited with their family.
  • All pets should minimally have two forms of ID: a collar with an ID tag, and either a County License or a microchip. Each ID should have an emergency contact number. Any form of current ID greatly increase the chances of reuniting you with your lost pet!

    Lost/Found a Pet?

  • Contact the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County at 352-793-9117, or and contact Sumter County Animal Services at 352-569-1960. Be prepared to give them a full description of the animal and your contact information.
  • Create a flyer with a photo of the lost animal and your contact information. Post it at all local veterinary offices, groomers, pet supply stores, and throughout your neighborhood.
  • Tell your neighbors. They may know the pet owner or they may be willing to help you in your search.
  • Post your pet’s photo on local social media pages specifically for Lost and Found pets.

    Additional Safety Tips During Holiday Cookouts:

  • Know your pet’s temperament. If your pet isn’t used to a lot of visitors or noise or is food/toy aggressive, it’s best to place them in a quiet part of your house until the guests leave. On the other hand, if your pet is a party animal, be sure to ask your guests to not slip them table scraps or take them near fireworks of any kind.
  • Do not feed your pet any picnic scraps or bones. Bones can easily break or splinter and cause blockage or perforation within the intestines. Cooked bones are even more dangerous. Be aware that symptoms of a bone lodged in the digestive system may not show up for a day or two. Typical symptoms include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Do not give your pet alcoholic beverages or toxic foods, such as onions, chocolate, grapes or raisins, and keep them out of reach, as these items can cause an accidental overdose, organ damage or possibly death.

The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based organization helping all animals in need throughout Sumter County, Florida.  Donations directly help to cover the cost of saving, treating, and caring for neglected, abused and abandoned animals.  Learn more about the HS/SPCA at,352-793-9117, on Facebook or at the shelter located at 994 CR 529A, in Lake Panasoffkee, Mon.-Fri. 8am-5pm and Sat. 8am-4pm.