10 things to Remember This 4th of July

10 things to Remember This 4th of July

The 4th of July is one of our most important, and biggest, parties. Our annual celebration of freedom is an opportunity to eat massive amounts of barbecue, share laughter and a few drinks, and light up every whizzing, banging, exploding firework we can find. But as fun as these expressions are for all of us, they’re terrifying for dogs. So, whether you plan to celebrate the 4th with a few friends and a box of your own fireworks, or attend a professional fireworks celebration, here are a few tips to keep your four-legged family member safe and happy.

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On the 4th, make sure you keep your pets inside.

Fireworks and loud noises are scary for animals. Even if they are used to being outside, the sound and smell of fireworks can cause them to bolt from their yard. According to various sources, more dogs go missing on the 4th than any other time of year. So give them a safe, secure, and familiar place to hang out until the party is over and they’ve calmed down to their normal self.

Give them something familiar to play with during any fireworks display.

When scary sounds and smells are around, having any soothing toys, blankets, or favorite places to hunker down can provides critical reassurance and comfort. Maybe your dog loves a kong toy filled with peanut butter. Now’s the perfect time to spoil them with it. It will last for hours, and help them associate positive experiences with the strange sounds.

Keep alcohol away from pets.

Do we really need to remind you that alcohol is poison for your pet? Outdoor parties, free-flowing cups of punch, beer, and wine are a hazard. Take some extra precautions to ensure they don’t have the opportunity to graze through everyone else’s solo cup.

They might love barbecue, but it doesn’t love them.

Who doesn’t love a spicy bbq brisket sandwich? That rich, sweet and hot combination makes seared meat synonymous with summer celebrations, and makes our mouths water along the way. It also makes your dog’s mouth water to the point where they are likely to eat every bit of it they can find. But the sugar, salt, and added ingredients can wreak havoc on their systems. Not to mention bones that can cause real damage.

Make sure your pet is properly identified.

The worst-case scenario, your pet freaks out, gets out, and makes a break for it. If it comes to this, they probably don’t know where they are going. So make sure they have a collar and all your current information clearly available on a tag or placard. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you if they come across your scared dog.

Beware of insect repellant and sunscreen.

Both of these products are available in pet-specific versions. If you can’t use the kind that are made for your dog, you’re probably better off not using anything.

Take your dog on a camping trip.

While not everyone can make this happen, the best way to avoid the many pitfalls of 4th of July is to get outta Dodge. If backpacking is your thing, chances are it is already your dog’s thing too. Replace the loud, crowded, alcohol and bbq filled party with a star-filled display of our country’s greatest asset, it’s wide-open spaces. It’s a chance to reflect on your freedom, and your relationship with your dog.

Keep it cool.

It’s the hottest month of the year, and the sun stays up deep into the evening. And dogs can be particularly affected by heat and heat stroke. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade. Don’t over-exercise them during the day if possible, and look out for warning signs of heat stroke, like excessive panting and drooling, or muscle tremors.

Keep emergency numbers handy.

Fortunately, smart phones enable us to find emergency help more easily than we used to. But if you suspect your dog has ingested something toxic or overindulged in unhealthy food, contact your vet immediately, or try the 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

 

All of these tips point to an obvious conclusion; that your dog doesn’t love the 4th of July nearly as much as you do. But with some basic preparations and forethought, you can relax and enjoy YOUR 4th, knowing your dog is safe, secure, and as happy as possible.

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