BEMIDJI -- Independence Day celebrations can be enjoyable to people, but all the patriotic festivities can be anxiety-inducing and potentially dangerous for the furry members of your family.

Whether or not you are planning your own Fourth of July celebration, it is still important to make preparations to keep your pets safe during all the excitement. Fireworks can disturb pets with the flashing and loud noise. Large events with a chaotic environment can also make animals uncomfortable.

But, more specifically for the Bemidji area, there are a few essential reminders the public should know, according to Bemidji Police Officer Jason Sanderson. With all the events going on in town with an influx of people, being aware of your pet and its needs are essential.

Sanderson said with no leash laws within the city limits, if you are out and about with your dog, make sure they are on a leash or be with them at all times, especially at public festivities.

“There are a lot of people out and about and you never know what a dog will do when it sees another dog,” Sanderson said.

Along with festival dangers come the heat of the summer months. Sanderson said that pet owners should remember that temperatures in a car can become much warmer than you might initially think, and that leaving pets unattended can have dire consequences.

“Biggest thing with Fourth of July is to keep in mind the weather is very hot, even if a window is cracked, that isn't enough,” he said.

Members of the public also are encouraged to take the time to get to know their neighbors. If you are aware of a neighbor with a dog who is sensitive to fireworks sound or light, you can make small changes to be respectful of area pets.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has also put together tips for pet owners to ensure a pet-friendly Fourth of July:

  • Make sure pets have up to date identification tags: If your pets were to get separated at a large event or runaway, it is good to have your up to date contact information available on their tags to get reunited.

  • Try a Thundershirt: This unique dog anxiety wrap is designed to provide gentle, constant pressure to your dog's body, producing a calming effect. This can help reduce a dog’s anxiety related to fireworks and other loud noises.

  • Prepare for the weather: Excess heat, sun and humidity can be dangerous for pets. Don’t leave animals outside for extended periods of time during hot weather. Make sure they have access to shady spots or keep them inside where it is cool. Never leave your pets in cars where it can become excessively hot.

  • Avoid table scraps: Feeding an animal excess table scraps can lead to digestive issues and even accidental ingestion of common foods that can be toxic.

  • Fireworks: Consider keeping pets away from large firework shows. Be aware of the signs of your pet being uncomfortable or disturbed by their environment.

  • Check your yard for debris: Make sure to check your yard for toxic firework debris or food scraps that could be dangerous to animals.

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