Fireworks and Furballs: Keep Your Pets Chill and Happy This Fourth

Published on July 03, 2024

While we make plans for summer celebrations, it's crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of our beloved pets. The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) reminds residents a little preparation can go a long way in making sure that everyone enjoys a safe and memorable Independence Day, including Fido.

Pet Safety and Fireworks

As the sun sets and the party starts, it’s important to remember a party may not always be a fun or safe place for your pet. Denver Animal Protection (DAP) warns residents that fireworks, sparklers, and other devices that discharge bright light and sound can scare even the most laid-back pets. Frightened animals are much more likely to run, hide or become destructive. Animal shelters, including Denver Animal Shelter (DAS), generally see more stray animals on July 5 than at other times of the year. There are many ways to keep your pet safe and calm during July Fourth celebrations. So, before you take your pet to a holiday event, check out the following safety tips:


  • Take your pet to parades or fireworks displays or leave your pet in the car at fireworks shows.
  • Leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Pets that normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, when fearful. This could put them at risk of injury or death.
  • Never leave a pet alone in a hot car. Temperatures inside a car during warm days can reach 120 degrees quickly. Animals can suffer life-threatening heatstroke in a matter of minutes, which can cause organ failure and death.


  • Keep pets indoors at home in a safe, quiet area, perhaps with a crate. Some animals can become destructive when scared, so be sure to put away fragile items.
  • License and microchip your pet. If your pet escapes, having identification increases the likelihood your pet will be returned to you. Visit the DAS at 1241 W. Bayaud Ave. to get your pet microchipped or licensed today.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags, so if they do get lost, they can be quickly returned. DAS offers customizable pet IDs.
  • Use a leash or carrier when transporting your pet if you must be outside with your pet.
  • Talk to your veterinarian if you know your dog has anxiety. A doctor can prescribe medication to help.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, charcoal, food scraps, and kabob skewers away from curious pets.

DAP has additional tips on how to prevent and find a lost pet. Animals found running at-large should be taken to your local animal shelter where they have the best chance of being reunited with their owners. For more information about DAP and DAS or to license your pet online, visit Illegal fireworks can be reported online at, through Sunny the Chatbot or by calling 720-913-2059.

BBQ Foods Pets Should Avoid

Long, hot days and BBQs are a time to keep a close eye on your pet. Officers from DAP remind Denver residents some of the human foods we love can make your pet sick and even lead to death, including Fourth of July favorites like alcohol, avocados, seasonings and high-fat foods like greasy burgers/hot dogs and more. If you believe your pet has ingested a poisonous substance and is ill, contact either your local veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Keeping Dogs Cool in the Summer Sizzle

As the days get longer and hotter, we have to pay close attention to make sure your dog doesn't get overheated. As you’re running your pre-party errands, never leave your dog in a hot car alone. Even on an 80-degree day, a car’s temperature can soar to triple digits. The Centers for Disease Control says after just 20 minutes, the inside of the car can hit 109 degrees Fahrenheit, even with the windows cracked open. In that short time, a dog can suffer life-threatening heatstroke which can cause organ failure and death. If you see a dog in a hot car, please call DAP dispatch at 720-913-2080. While Denver’s good Samaritan law provides legal immunity to people who break a car window to save an animal, it’s important to exhaust all other measures before entering the vehicle.

Heat is harder on dogs than humans since they don’t sweat like us—through the skin which evaporates and cools our bodies. Dogs release heat from their bodies primarily by panting and exchanging hot air for cool. But when the air inside is warm, they breathe in that heat and can’t cool off. That causes their body temperature to rise quickly and dangerously. Puppies, elderly, long-haired, dark-haired, and flat-faced dogs are also more at risk for overheating. When walking your dog, keep walks during peak daytime hours to a minimum. Be mindful of hot pavement that can burn your pet’s feet. If you can’t hold your bare hand on the pavement for 10 seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on. Also, being so close to the warm ground, your dog’s body can heat up quickly.

We love how dog-friendly Denver is, but sometimes the safest place for your dog is at home in the summer heat. Learn more about keeping your pet safe in the heat on the DDPHE website.