Barbecues, fireworks and time with friends and family are great ways to celebrate the Fourth of July. And while our furry friends enjoy a good party, it’s important to be mindful of a few safety hazards. If you’re planning to let your dog join in on the fun this summer, follow these safety tips to make sure they feel safe and comfortable, and stay out of harm’s way.
Don’t Feed Table Scraps
It’s never a good idea to give people food to dogs. Holidays, including the 4th of July, are no different. Traditional foods, such as barbecue meats, chips and desserts, can upset your dog’s stomach and make them sick. Avoid giving your dog human foods as a special treat, and take care not to let them pick up food that drops on the floor.
Tip: Chocolate, grapes, avocados and alcohol are toxic to dogs and cats.
Keep Dogs Cool in Summer
Even in the shade, dogs can easily become overheated on a hot summer day. Whether you plan to bring your pet to the lake or just the backyard for July 4th festivities, make sure your dog has access to plenty of clean drinking water, as well as protection from the sun. Ideally, you should also bring your pet indoors a couple times an hour to make sure they don’t get too hot.
Remember, dogs don’t sweat to cool down – they pant. That’s why it’s important to keep your pup’s water bowl full on hot afternoons.
Tip: In addition to keeping them hydrated, you can also help your dog feel more comfortable by keeping their paws cool. Lying down on a cold floor usually does the trick!
Don’t Leave Pets in the Car
Even with the windows down, the inside of your vehicle can reach dangerously high temperatures in a short amount of time. In fact, on a hot summer day, the temperature inside your car can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 minutes. If you think you’ll need to leave your dog in the car unattended at any time, it’s best to leave them at home.
Avoid Fireworks and Open Flames
Dogs are curious creatures. Fireworks, sparklers and bonfires can be unpredictable. To prevent burns, injuries or ingestion, keep your dog a safe distance away from explosives and open flames. This includes grills, bonfires and neighborhood firework displays.
Tip: Bring your pets indoors during bonfires and fireworks.
Don’t Bring Pets to Firework Shows
Not only do firework shows draw large crowds that make it easy to lose track of your pet, but dogs are also easily frightened by loud noises. Keep your furry friends at home to avoid pet anxiety and prevent them from getting lost.
Tip: If your pets can hear the fireworks from home, keep them in a quiet room with clean drinking water.
Prepare a Safe, Quiet Space
Did you know more pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year? This is due in large part to cats and dogs getting scared during firework shows. When frightened, our furry friends don’t like to feel trapped, so they will often seek safety elsewhere (away from the sound of explosions). For this reason, it’s a good idea to prepare a quiet and comfortable place for your dog to retreat to.
Creating a sanctuary for your dog is also great if you plan on having company. Even the most social pets need their alone time. Ensure your cat or dog has a quiet place they can retreat to if you’re hosting a 4th of July party.
Tip: Keep a bowl of clean water, toys and blankets in your pet’s sanctuary.
Make Sure ID Tags Are Up-to-Date
Just in case your dog gets lost on the 4th of July, ensure the information on their collar is current, including your address and phone number. Also make sure that your dog’s collar fits properly – not so tight that it’s uncomfortable, but also not loose enough that it could fall off. You should be able to fit two fingers comfortably under their collar.
Tip: Microchipping your pet can also help make sure your dog finds their way home sooner.