Most area cities and parks have canceled 4th of July fireworks celebrations to avoid large crowds that would hinder coronavirus prevention efforts. That means many people will be, or have been, buying their own fireworks to provide the “rockets red glare”. And since the state Legislature passed a bill making fireworks fully legal on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Independence Day, expect the Saturday night sky to be full of light, and the streets to be full of smoke.

Safety needs to be the main concern to have a safe and fun holiday, for you and your vulnerable pets, like dogs.

St. Cloud Fire Marshall Richard Tonks gave some tips:

Do not light them in your hand. Most injuries occur to the hands, fingers and legs.

Do not let children fire them off.

Drinking and fireworks do not mix. If you are drinking, stay closer to the barbecue.

Do not try to relight a dud.

Do not put the leftovers immediately in the trash. Let them sit out overnight, then wet them down before cleaning up.

Keep a hose and bucket handy, in case of unexpected sparks. While it has rained lately, recent heat as dry things out, like lawns. Set them off on sidewalks, streets or (hopefully, long) driveways, away from houses and structures.

Even harmless looking sparklers can burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals and quickly and easily caused third degree burns. Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers for children.

While July 4th may be a favorite holiday for Americans, it’s one of the least favorite for their pets, like cats and dogs.

“We can’t avoid (the sounds of fireworks), so our dogs can’t either,” said Kay Schreiner, owner of Marsoc’s K9 Training Facility. “Dogs hear better and feel the vibrations, so they sense it.”

Something you can do before the booms and pops start is properly ID’ing your dog, in case they bolt or escape. “Microchipping them can save their lives,” Schreiner said.

She suggests putting them in a “thundershirt”, a tight-fitting garment designed to provide gentle, constant pressure to your dog’s body, producing a calming effect. Putting them in a crate can also make them feel secure, as can comforting them, or involving them in play to take their attention from the loud noise.

It also helps to walk and feed them, and give them water in the daylight hours before the fireworks start. White noise, like turning up the TV at loud volume, can also drown out uncomfortable noises.