Keeping Dogs Safe and Happy This Fourth of July

By Andrea Servadio, July 2015

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, I wanted to share some important tips to help dog owners keep their furry friends happy and healthy during this patriotic (yet loud) holiday!

Fireworks are fun. Scared dogs are not. Here are some tips so both you and your pup will have a sparkling and safe July Fourth:

Shelter Loud Noises: While fireworks may be entertaining and dazzling to us, for most dogs, the loud noises generated from large-scale firework displays to home lit bottle rockets can create anxiety and fear. Some common reactions to look for in your dog include: shaking, stress panting, putting their tail between their legs, bolting, hiding, and howling. To help relieve this anxiousness, owners can try to:

  • Use a sound machine to block the noise from outside.
  • Put your dog in a Thundershirt. They are proven to reduce anxiety and stress in dogs. The shirt provides a gentle, constant pressure on your dog, similar to swaddling an infant. It’s a safe way to make them feel secure and can be reused in many different situations.
  • Place your dog in a room with the windows closed to block outside noise.
  • Also, it should go without saying that you should never fire up fireworks around your dog. If you have kids (or adults) who like playing with fireworks at home, make sure your dog is far away from the action and noise.

Mind the Exits: When hosting parties, or even when taking your dog with you to a party, always make sure exits and entrances are closed (doors, gates, fences, etc.). Dogs may wander out or if they are spooked, will bolt out any available exits. Some dogs have been known to even jump through windows when they are frightened. As always, make sure your dog is tagged in the event he or she finds a way to escape.

Comfort in the Chaos: Provide your dog with a favorite “spot” for them to go to at any time. Dogs like to be in the mix, but sometimes they don’t know where to be or know how to participate if a party gets too crowded. It’s nice to have a cozy spot for your dog to retreat to when they are over stimulated or tired, but can still see what’s going on so that they feel like they are part of the action. Dogs generally don’t like being locked up in a backroom, but for those that are more sensitive, placing them in a quiet room alone may be the best or only option.

Food Control: Make sure you have a no human food policy. Your dog will likely linger around and beg for scraps while you are cooking or while your guests are enjoying their meals. Most BBQ and other summertime favorites have too much sugar and fat and are made with ingredients that are harmful to dogs (like garlic, onions, grapes and chocolate). It’s best to tell guests not to feed the dog, and try to follow the rule yourself - no matter how big they make those puppy eyes!

Follow these tips to keep your pup safe during the summer festivities.