In America (and U.S. territories), the 4th of July is an annual explosion of patriotic celebrations. Families and friends gather to mark American Independence Day on the 4th of July. Communities, neighborhoods and clans hold barbecues, picnics and parades for the 4th of July – usually finishing these fiestas with fireworks after dark.
Often, dogs and other pets are included in 4th of July events.
How can dog owners keep their canine companions safe, calm and unharmed during 4th of July festivities? Here are 12 tips for dog safety on the 4th of July.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Exercise Dogs as Usual.
Daily exercise is essential for healthy dogs, and a wonderful workout can be an excellent stress buster as well, particularly on such a noisy holiday as the 4th of July.
On the other hand, skipping exercise on Independence Day may make a dog more excitable and potentially more stressed out by 4th of July firecrackers, 4th of July fireworks, 4th of July flapping buntings and flags, 4th of July marching bands, loud 4th of July crowds and other 4th of July excitement.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Keep Dogs on Leashes for Events.
Many dog owners enjoy taking their pets to 4th of July barbecues, 4th of July picnics and 4th of July parades. Some folks even march with their dogs in 4th of July parades. Of course, even the tamest and most obedient dogs should be leashed for busy 4th of July events. A leash or harness can protect dogs from 4th of July mishaps, while also preventing any possible problems with dogs biting unfamiliar people or pets.
Many communities, in fact, have pet restraint laws requiring dogs be leashed in public.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Be Sure to Put ID Tags on Dogs.
Sadly, many dogs (and other pets) are lost on the 4th of July, simply because they break away and become confused by crowds and merry mayhem of the 4th of July celebrations. Dogs wearing collars with identification tags (or even microchipped pets) may be returned to their owners.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Confine Dogs for Added Safety.
Some dogs and other pets become unnecessarily agitated by loud noises and crowds during 4th of July festivities. Smart dog owners will carefully evaluate whether it might be wiser to leave these animals at home, where they may be safe and reasonably undisturbed.
If a dog (or another pet) is kept at home during 4th of July events, it may be prudent to keep the animal in a crate or confined in a smaller area (such as a bathroom or kitchen) for safety’s sake. A dog may become uncharacteristically nervous or upset at sudden explosive noises, such as 4th of July firecrackers or 4th of July fireworks displays, leaving owners a few unexpected surprises around the home. If that pet is restricted to a tiled area, the damages may be minimized.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Play Music or Television for Dogs in Home.
Plenty of savvy dog owners purposely play music or the television for pets left at home during 4th of July events. The constant noise, kept to a comfortable volume level, may soothe pets and drown out many of the 4th of July holiday distractions.
Some dog owners choose to pull drapes closed at home on the 4th of July to prevent pet excitement, while keeping their homes cooler on a midsummer day.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Do Not Leave Dogs Unattended During Celebrations.
Ideally, dogs are supervised while 4th of July festivities are underway. At the very least, caring pet owners will check their pets periodically to ensure their comfort and safety.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Keep Dogs Away from Trash and Hazardous Food Items.
At 4th of July barbecues, 4th of July picnics and other 4th of July gatherings, people enjoy all sorts of fun and festive foods and drinks. However, many 4th of July treats may be dangerous for dogs and other pets. Alcohol, chocolate and other items can make dogs quite sick – so 4th of July party hosts and party-goers need to keep these consumables out of dogs’ reach. (CTRL-click here to read “What Foods Can Harm Your Dog?” in a new window.)
In addition, 4th of July paper goods and trash are often quite tempting to dogs. A dog cannot discern whether garbage may contain sharp pieces, or if mayonnaise and eggs may be spoiled after more than an hour outdoors.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Be Careful with Fire and Sparks Around Dogs.
The 4th of July usually brings firecrackers, smoke bombs, sparklers and other incendiary items. These products are downright dangerous around dogs, so pet owners will need to keep them away from their canine companions on the 4th of July.
Dogs are naturally attracted to the scent of meat cooking, although a hot grill is a surefire hazard for pets. Again, restraint will be required for 4th of July pet safety.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Do Not Put Glowing Accessories on Dogs.
Glow bands, glow bracelets, glow necklaces and glow sticks are perennially popular on the 4th of July. However, these neon adornments can be harmful to dogs, who may regard them as chew toys.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Keep Balloons Away from Dogs.
Balloons, both helium- and oxygen-filled, may be found frequently at 4th of July festivities. To a dog, an inflated balloon may look like a ball or toy, although an ingested balloon can quickly become a canine choking emergency.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Leave Dogs at Home During Fireworks Displays
Very few dogs have the ability to remain calm during noisy 4th of July fireworks displays. In the dark, at a crowded beach or park, a frightened dog may become unsafe to himself or others. Most prudent pet owners will leave their dogs at home for 4th of July fireworks.
4th of July Tips for Dog Safety: Ask a Veterinarian for Calming Medication, If Needed.
Some dogs may be sedate most of the time, but still come unglued on such exciting occasions as the 4th of July. For such pets, a veterinarian may prescribe a calming medication, which is usually given to a pet about an hour before the 4th of July festivities begin.
By practicing these 12 dog safety tips for the 4th of July, pet owners (and their dogs) may enjoy calmer, safer and more enjoyable 4th of July celebrations.