Ten Tips To Keep Your Dog Safe On The Fourth Of July

Jun 28, 2024

The Fourth of July is a time for celebrating and is filled with fireworks, barbecues, and festive gatherings. But, when it comes to our furry best friends, the 4th can be a good bit scarier than it is fun. Too many people, unfamiliar activities and loud noises make for environments dogs don’t feel safe in–which sometimes leads them to just run away. Want your dog to have a happy and safe Independence Day? So do we, and we’ve got 10 tips to help!

Why the Fourth of July Is Dangerous for Dogs

According to the American Kennel Club, more pets go missing on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. Animal shelters across the country see a significant increase in lost pets during this holiday period and there are several reasons the 4th of July is scary for dogs.

The loud noises and bright lights can scare dogs, which triggers their instinctive drive to run away from the danger. Even dogs that are usually calm can be spooked by the unexpected sounds.

With guests coming and going, dogs may get overwhelmed. Doors and gates are often left open, and this just makes it super easy for them to sneak out in survival mode. 

And, many Fourth of July celebrations take place outside and in the hot summer heat. Dogs can easily overheat, especially if they are left outside without shade or water. It’s not bad enough that they’re so scared they run; they then run the risk of being lost and suffering a heatstroke. 

Photo: A puppy sits on the beach and looks at the fireworks.Here are 10 tips to help keep your dog safe on the Fourth of July.

1. Create a Safe Space Indoors

Fireworks are a major cause of anxiety for dogs. The loud bangs and bright flashes make you go, “Oooohhh!” and “Ahhhhh!” but they can be terrifying for your dog, leading to stress and panic. Set up a comfortable, quiet area in your home where your dog can just chill out and not be as exposed to the pomp and circumstance. Fill it with their favorite toys, a cozy bed, and some soothing background noise like a fan or calming music. This safe place will help your dog feel secure during the fireworks display.

2. Keep Your Dog Indoors

Even if your dog is usually comfortable outside, it’s really just best to keep them indoors during Fourth of July celebrations. The unfamiliar noises and sights can lead to unpredictable behavior, including attempts to escape. Too many dog parents lose their dogs on the Fourth of July, and all seem so surprised that their dog was frightened by the noise because they were usually fine outside. Make sure all doors, windows, and fences are secure to prevent any accidental getaways.

3. Update Identification

Make sure your dog’s ID tags and microchip information are up to date. In the unfortunate event that your dog does run off, current contact information will be so important in reuniting with them quickly. A collar with an ID tag and a microchip provide double protection.

4. Consider Avoiding Fireworks and Sparklers

We know, we know…they’re fun and beautiful. But, fireworks and sparklers are not only loud but can also be dangerous if they come into contact with your dog. Keep all fireworks and sparklers out of your dog’s reach, and make sure they are in a safe place when you’re using them. Remember, even unlit fireworks can pose a risk if ingested.

5. Watch Out for Party Foods

The fun barbecues and parties we love to have and attend often mean lots of tempting foods that are unsafe for dogs. Chocolate, alcohol, grapes, and onions are just a few examples of common party foods that can be toxic to dogs. Make sure guests know not to feed your dog table scraps and keep all food out of reach.

6. Exercise Them Before the Festivities

Take your dog for a long walk or play an extended game of fetch earlier in the day. A tired dog is a calmer, less anxious dog. Not to mention, they’ll be tired, and that will make it easier for them to relax and sleep through the noise.

7. Use Anxiety-Reducing ProductsPhoto: A dog hides under covers because it is scared of fireworks.

Consider using anxiety-reducing products such as Thundershirts, calming collars, or natural supplements or oils that are designed for dogs. These products can help reduce your dog’s stress levels and make the evening more bearable for them.

8. Consider Staying Home with Your Dog

If possible, consider staying home with your dog during the big fireworks celebrations. Your presence will help them feel so much more calm and safe with all the scary noise around them. If you do need to leave, consider hiring a pet sitter or asking a trusted friend to stay with your dog.

9. Provide Distractions

Distracting your dog with their favorite toys or treats can help divert their attention from the noise outside. Puzzle toys filled with treats or a long-lasting chew can keep them occupied and less focused on the fireworks. Just like you may consider bringing the big fireworks out, bring the best treats out for your dog so they’re more likely to focus on them.

10. Talk To Your Holistic Veterinarian

If your dog has severe anxiety or a history of extreme reactions to loud noises, talk with your holistic veterinarian. They can recommend treatments to help manage your dog’s anxiety during the Fourth of July celebrations.

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