The 4th of July is known for barbecues, fireworks and celebrations – but it is also the one day out of the year when dogs are likely to escape their yards and potentially get lost or hurt. Animal control sees an increase of 30-60 percent in lost dogs between July 4th and 6th. Here are some ways to keep your dog safe this Independence Day weekend.
Keep them inside
Even if you think your dog isn’t afraid of fireworks, it’s best to keep him inside during the holiday. Besides the show your city or town puts on, people may light off their own fireworks and the noise (as well as the sight) could scare your pets. Most pets will try to get away from the noise and may escape to the backyard. To keep their anxiety to a minimum and be sure they are safe and secure, keep them inside as soon as it starts to get dark. Never keep your dog outside on a leash or chain, as he could seriously injure himself if he tries to run while attached to something.
If your dog is frightened of fireworks even when inside, you can also try the ThunderShirt, which is a vest that helps animals with anxiety and is available for all sized dogs.
In addition, consider leaving your animals behind, even if you are going to a pet-friendly event in your community. The crowds and noises can cause anxiety for even normally well-adjusted pets. They’ll be much happier at home, in a quiet, sheltered and secure place. If you do decide to bring your pet or leave her outdoors, be sure she has proper identification on at all times.
No cocktails for the dogs
If you are having people over or are bringing your dog somewhere that includes alcoholic beverages, make sure they are out of your dog’s reach. Many dogs are all too happy to take a sip of a beer or various other drinks, and consuming too much can make them very ill or can even be fatal. Be sure to keep even unopened beverages out of their reach and make sure ice chests are securely closed.
No hot dogs
Even a few pieces of food that your dog isn’t familiar with can irritate his stomach. Keep food out of your dog’s reach and don’t leave your dog unattended around any food that is left out. This is especially crucial near the barbeque. A curious and hungry dog may try to grab food off a hot barbeque without realizing how hot it is. Smaller barbeques could easily be knocked over by a large dog, creating a danger for her and a potential fire hazard.
Keep fireworks, lighter fluid, candles and any related items away from your dogs and out of their curious reach. If you decide to light fireworks – even if they are just sparklers – put the dog inside. Besides just getting spooked, fireworks can shed debris that could cause a potential danger for your pet. Some fireworks look a lot like a toy in the eyes of a dog, so it’s crucial that your dog is never left unattended in an area where you are storing fireworks of any kind. Fireworks contain dangerous ingredients that could easily kill your pet if they are consumed.
Decorate with caution
Be mindful of decorations that may become chew toys. Some decor can pose a choking hazard, in addition to being unsafe for your pets to consume. Keep candles and citronella torches away from your pets, and be sure any oil is secure and out of their reach. Candles and torches can be easily knocked over by a tail-wagging pet or by a scared pet that isn’t fully paying attention.
Keep Calm: If your dog is prone to anxiety, consider picking up some natural calming treats or lavender oil and dab a bit on the top of his head. Take him on a long walk before any festivities to tire him out and reduce the potential of anxiety.
More summer safety tips
Safety tips for your pets during summer activities
Tips to keep your pets cool this summer
Keep pets safe from the heat
Your pets are more likely to get lost during this holiday weekend