In the United States, the 4th of July is a euphoric holiday filled with pool parties, barbecues, and all things Americana. While this is basically a dream-come-true for most humans, July 4th can be an unsafe nightmare for your pets if you’re not careful.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the 4th of July is a dangerous time of year for pets.

The days after Independence Day are actually the busiest time of year for animal shelters because of escaped pets. In fact, the Humane Society of Utah reported that Utah shelters receive 30 percent more dogs on July 5th than any other day of the year. According to spokesperson Callista Pearson, only 32 to 35 percent of dogs who wind up in shelters around July 4th are returned to their owner.

With this (and the other holiday risks) in mind, it’s imperative that responsible dog owners take steps to keep their pets safe on July 4th. Here are our tips:

1Keep your pets at home.

Experts at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommend taking extra care to keep track of your pets during July 4th activities. If you’re heading to a party or event, leave your pet at home as the noise, people, and fireworks could be stressful for them. Consider keeping them in an escape-proof room or crate during this time, since frightened pets can be extra motivated to escape fenced yards.

Should your pet escape, it’s important that they’re wearing tags and are microchipped, so that shelters or veterinarians can return them to you.

2If you’re traveling without your pet, hire supervision.

If you’re headed to the beach, lake, or anywhere else for Independence Day, know that July 4th is a stressful day for pets to be alone. Even if you typically trust your pet alone for extended periods, the same might not apply on July 4th.

Pearson explained that shelters typically wait three to five days to put a dog up for adoption after it is brought to a shelter.

When in doubt, make sure there’s someone to watch your pet while you’re away to prevent this.

3Distract anxious pets.

If you know your pet has a hard time coping with fireworks, take extra steps to distract your pet with things like music, toys, or a kong stuffed with something tasty, advises Pets for Patriots.

Or, you can always let them watch dog videos with headphones.

4Keep ’em cool.

If your pup or kitty is going to be outside with you on July 4th, remember that hot weather can be dangerous for pets, who can’t maintain body temperatures the way humans can.

5Watch what they eat!

With Independence Day comes all sorts of curious new smells for your pets: Not just hot dogs and hamburgers, but also sunscreen, bug spray, lighter fluid, citronella candles, and any other number of things. Be extra careful with what your pet has the opportunity to munch on, so they don’t get ahold of any harmful substances. Resist the urge to offer them your celebratory human food, no matter how cute they look.

We hope you (and your furry friends!) have a safe and happy 4th of July!