9 Ways to Ensure a Fun, but Safe 4th of July Celebration for Your Dog

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Fireworks and barbecues are both time-honored ways to celebrate America’s independence. Unfortunately, as pet parents across the US know all too well, dogs don’t enjoy the festivities nearly as much as we do. 

dog with US flag

Unlike our dogs, however, we can read calendars and plan for the upcoming stresses of the Fourth of July. Go through these tips to learn how you can make the celebrations a much less stressful one for your beloved canine companion:

1) Put Together a Safe Space Inside Your Home

Your dog’s hearing is much more acute than yours. If you think fireworks and partying are loud, think how much more acutely your dog feels that discomfort. Even if your dog tolerates noises well, the Fourth of July is a much bigger disruption than normal, necessitating some precautions.

Whichever room in your house has the best sound dampening is probably the one they will head off to when the fireworks start. Make sure to prepare this space with a cozy bed, their favorite chew toy, and some water. A calming pheromone diffuser may also provide additional relief from the holiday’s stresses. 

If it’s your dog’s first Fourth of July, shop for custom pet products like dog toys and blankets and set these out for them. Be sure to leave whichever toys or keepsakes they like the most in their makeshift panic room.

2) Make Sure Your Dog Has Their Tags On

The Fourth of July is a peak time for missing pets. A combination of preoccupied humans and panic-inducing stimuli can easily cause any dog to slip past the front door and go missing. 

Even if your dog does have a panic room, make sure they’re wearing a collar with tags containing up-to-date information. Get them chipped if they aren’t already to ensure a safe return should they get lost and found by strangers.

3) Keep Your Dog Cool

Fireworks are not your only concern during July Fourth celebrations. July is one of the hottest months of the year in the US, making it an especially uncomfortable time for many dogs, particularly brachycephalic breeds and those with thick coats. If overheating is a concern, keep your dog indoors and turn on the air conditioning to ensure they’re comfortable.

fashionable dogs

4) Don’t Leave Your Grill Unattended

Though your pooch’s grill-side puppy-dog eyes are irresistible, not all human food is dog-friendly. Raw meats, brittle bones, and grilled onions can all potentially cause serious problems if ingested. Similarly, plastic trays and tin foil that’s slathered in barbecued meat juices can cause serious injuries if your dog gets to either of them. 

Always keep an eye on your grill and keep your dog at least three feet away when it’s on. If you must let your dog participate in the party, only give them safe foods to eat, like sweet potatoes and cooked lean meats.

5) Never Let Your Dog Sip Your Drink

Most dogs are repulsed by alcohol, but some are just curious enough to give it a try. Unfortunately, dogs are far more sensitive to alcohol than humans, and even a quick sip of beer can send them vomiting or take them into respiratory failure. Don’t let your dog sample your booze, and never let guests leave their drinks unattended.

6) Consider Skipping the Fireworks This Year

Refrain from taking your dog to festivities with fireworks, even if they don’t seem perturbed by loud noises. If your neighborhood allows homeowners to have fireworks on the Fourth of July, consider doing without them to mitigate any potential stress for your dog. 

dog walking

7) Avoid Crowds

Avoid taking your dog to parades and other gatherings with a lot of commotion or people. The combination of loud noises and hot pavement can be distressing even to a normally even-tempered dog. 

8) Clean Up Your Yard Before Letting Your Dog Out

Even if you didn’t set off any fireworks, debris from your neighbors’ pyrotechnics and food scraps from your barbecue may still be in your yard. Make sure to clean up as much of this trash as you can before letting your dog do their business in the yard the day after the festivities.

9) Only Use Dog-Safe Insect Repellent and Sunscreen

Human sunscreens and insect repellents are often overlooked holiday hazards for dogs. These products are generally considered toxic for dogs and need to be kept away from them at all times. If your dog has to be outdoors and needs protection from insects and the sun’s UV rays, only apply dog-safe products on them.

Enjoy a Safe and Worry-Free Independence Day with Your Dog

Our Fourth of July customs and the risks they present will be with us for a long time. But with the tips and guidelines shared above, you’ll be able to keep your dog safer and happier year after year. Even better, you won’t have to give up the traditions that celebrate the freedoms we all enjoy—including the freedom to have a furry friend to share our homes with.

an image of dog with text overlay

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