Meet July 4th and discover a day of priceless moments.
From barbecues on the beach to hamburgers around the fire and picnics at the park, July 4th is no doubt a holiday surrounded by many fun moments with family and friends.
Memories are steeped in rich culture and patriotic tradition.
And at days end, celebrators flock to public areas ready to top off their day with a brilliant display of fireworks.
While you might be counting down the days to this holiday just around the corner, your dog would be full of dread if he had any idea what’s about to unfold.
Unfortunately, according to the American Human Association, shelters are at their fullest when July 5th rolls in.
Combine the terror of fireworks with unfamiliar celebrations and a dog can go wild in search of comfort and safety.
There’s no way around it.
It’s simply a fact that among the sounds which dogs hate are the screaming, popping, ground shaking fireworks.
Veterinarian Marty Becker, the founder of Fear Free, warns, “A lot of times these dogs will self-mutilate. I’ve had dogs come in that have run through a plate-glass window. They think they’re going to die, and when you think you’re going to die, you do crazy things.”
This fourth, think ahead on how you can promise your canine friend a safe and pleasant holiday, void of all those sounds that make a dog go crazy.
To help you prepare, today we’re sharing nine of the absolute best tips to give your Fido a safe and enjoyable July 4th holiday.
You’ll also discover how to tell if your dog is feeling scared, how to know if your pet eats any poison (think party scraps!), as well as how to calm your dog should calamity strike.
Is Your Dog Scared?
Loud parades. Rambunctious parties. Booming firework displays. Unpredictable noises.
It’s all a bit much for your four-legged friends.
When July fourth rolls in, unless you’ve done your homework, there’s a good chance your dog will experience some level of fear.
Signs to be alert for include shivering, panting, shaking, stiffening up, or salivating.
Your dog could also appear clingy and refuse to leave your side. Or he/she might look for places to hide.
If your dog discovers a place to hide, do not try pulling your dog out and into the open. He may grow snappy and try to bite you.
Instead, let your dog come out only when he feels ready.
If you are desperate, grab a treat to motivate your dog along.
How to calm down a dog:
The first and best secret to calm an anxious dog is you.
Spend time with your dog and speak in a soothing voice.
Comfort him with your presence and let him know things will be okay.
Don’t force him against his will. If he’s hiding, grab a treat or favorite toy to encourage him out.
Lastly, avoid sharp sounds and unpredictable behaviors.
Nine Tips to Increase Your Dog’s Safety this July 4th
1. Keep your dog at home on July 4th.
Yes, you read that right.
Perhaps you are longing for another run together on the beach.
Or perhaps the thought of enjoying a party without your dog leaves you sickened.
Keeping your dog at home on the fourth may seem cruel at first but don’t be fooled.
Your dog will enjoy being home in a quiet and familiar space far more than being at any party you plan to attend.
Come time for those annual fireworks and your four-legged friend will absolutely love you for leaving him behind.
It’s no lie dogs hate fireworks.
From the thundering bangs to those bright lights streaking across a night sky, dogs grow terrified when that first firework explodes.
2. Create a safe place for your dog.
While you are enjoying the party, don’t give your dog access to your whole house at home.
Instead, leave him in a familiar room where he will be safe.
If your dog is crate trained, consider draping a blanket over the top of the crate to help drown out any booming fireworks.
In addition, keep the curtains closed and blinds pulled to avoid unpleasant visual stimulation.
A dog’s sense of hearing can be multiple times sharper than that of humans.
So help your dog out and turn on soft music to drown out any terrifying explosions.
Classical music or any similar genre is great for calming dog nerves.
You could also leave the TV running or play audio-books to drown out frightening sounds.
3. Avoid offering table scraps to your dog.
Sudden changes in diet may prove harmful for a growing canine and chocolate isn’t the only doggy no-no.
Avocados, grapes, coffee, onions, and raisins can also produce unpleasant results in your canine friend.
Instead of ‘treating’ your dog to your favorite picnic delicacies, throw the scraps away this fourth of July.
Spoil your dog with a few quality dog treats instead.
(Bonus tip: alcoholic drinks are an absolute no-no for dogs too! If swallowed, dogs can become dangerously intoxicated.)
If your dog does eat poison by mistake, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately.
4. Use appropriate sunscreen for your dog.
If you do allow your pet time in the backyard, don’t grab your personal bottle of sunscreen.
Instead, be sure any sunscreen you apply on your dog is appropriate for animals and safe to use on your four-legged friend.
Sunscreens that are not intended for animals can have direct poisonous effects when applied on dogs.
These effects include diarrhea, drooling, lethargy, and vomiting.
In addition, insect repellent is another doggy no-no.
Many insect repellents contain DEET, a common insecticide, which may cause negative neurological issues if used on pets.
5. Avoid citronella.
Refuse to use any citronella insect control products.
Whether it’s candles, oils, insect coils, or torches, these products can be dangerous for your four-legged pal.
If your dog inhales these products, he may encounter a respiratory illness including pneumonia or something similar.
Ingestion could also lead to negative effects on a dog’s nervous system.
6. Microchip your dog.
All the unfamiliar stimulation surrounding our patriotic holiday is enough to send your dog bolting in search of anything that feels safe.
Terrified dogs are quick to jump fences, escape leashes, and cover large ground in attempts to flee those thundering sounds common to 4th of July.
As a result, be sure your dog is microchipped and carries an ID tag with your name and number included.
Also, snap a few pictures of your dog should you need to hang any ‘missing’ posters over the next few days (worst-case scenario, of course!).
7. Avoid Over-heating.
It’s no joke that July can get super hot.
To keep your dog cool and avoid over-heating, be sure your Fido always has access to shade and plenty of water when outdoors.
Limit any exercise and know what to look for should your dog overheat.
Heatstroke warnings include:
- Excessive panting or drooling
- Limited urine output
- muscle tremors
If your dog begins to show any of these symptoms, be sure to contact a veterinarian immediately.
8. Keep the gadgets away.
Keep a close eye on what your dog is playing with.
Sparklers, glow sticks, charcoal, kabob skewers, fireworks….these should all be kept away from Fido this fourth of July.
9. Remember: A tired dog is a happy dog
Before the party starts, exercise your pet to get rid of any extra energy.
Visit the dog park, take a walk through your neighborhood, or enjoy some playtime in your backyard.
Grab a leash and head downtown or grab an ice-cream cone together.
Be intentional to burn some energy and get your dog exhausted before the party ever starts.
After the thundering and booming has stopped and life returns to normal, check your yard for any firework debris that could prove harmful for your dog.
Even if you didn’t set off sparklers or fireworks, debris from your neighbor’s yards may have found their way into your space.
In addition, if you hosted any parties, check your yard for food scraps and any other harmful trash.
Soon enough the 4th of July will pass, fireworks will be over and life will return to normal.
Your Fido will again be himself and those booming sounds that make dogs go crazy will be gone for another year.
What is something you’ve done in the past to give your Fido a fun and exciting fourth of July?
Let us know in the comments below.
Cheers to a fun, safe and dog-friendly fourth!
As the Editor in Chief, Anna Lengacher helps dog lovers learn the ropes of finding, raising, and caring for their dogs so they can enjoy many happy memories together.