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Officials in Washington state are warning dog owners about "tennis ball bombs," a firecracker-like device that could turn up around the Fourth of July.

At a recent community meeting, the Kent Police Department answered a question from a citizen about how to identify these homemade bombs.

"A tennis ball bomb is very easy to identify. It is a real tennis ball that has some sort of fuse sticking out of it. Here is a picture of one. The tennis ball could also be completely wrapped in duct tape with a fuse sticking out," the department wrote on Facebook.

Basically, it's a tennis ball is implanted with a small explosive that serves as a homemade firecracker. They can be dangerous - or even deadly - to both dogs and humans.

One of these devices turned up in Washington in February when a local man stumbled upon a cache of about eight various explosives, including at least one tennis ball bomb, King 5 reported.

A dog was killed in 2000 by one of these devices in Portland, Oregon, stunning the neighborhood.

With Independence Day around the corner, authorities are warning dog owners to be on the lookout. If you come across a suspicious device, proceed with caution and contact your local authorities.

Watch the local report above.

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