Around Independence Day, most of us begin to look forward to taking some time off work and enjoying a fireworks-filled night with friends and family. Unfortunately, what we think is great fun for us is not always fun for our dogs, especially during this holiday.
Each year, countless dogs go missing during the 4th of July festivities. Some dogs are so frightened of the loud pops and excitement that they will do anything – including digging holes under fences, knocking out window screens, opening patio doors – to get away from the noise. Other pets become ill when they are allowed to eat human foods that are dangerous to dogs, such as onions, avocado, and alcoholic beverages.
Because dogs have such acute hearing and an enhanced sense of smell, the unfamiliar noises and odors of the fireworks put them on high alert. Sporting breeds are particularly vulnerable to this anxiety.
Here are 8 tips to keep your dogs safe this weekend:
- Do not take your dogs to fireworks displays. Even the calmest of dogs can be unsettled by all the activity taking place. If you do decide to take your dogs to a fireworks show, be sure to have him or her on leash at all times. Please note: Addison’s Kaboom Town prohibits dogs (except for certified service animals) from this event.
- Make sure your dog is wearing identification tags, in case he does get away from you or your home. This holiday is the busiest time of the year for animal shelters because of all the pets that go missing during the celebrations. Most pets that run away will end up in shelters, and it will be easier to reunite you with your pet if your pet is wearing tags or is microchipped.
- Make sure your dog is inside if you are leaving him alone while you go out to celebrate. If he is frightened enough to try to escape the noise, he could injure himself in an attempt to get somewhere safe. If your dog will be unsupervised inside your home, leave the radio or television on so that the fireworks are muffled and not as startling to your pet. You may want to leave a t-shirt or other article of clothing that carries your scent to help reassure him.
- If your dog is generally frightened of thunderstorms, you can almost guarantee that he will be distressed by fireworks. Consider using a calming treatment such as RESCUE Remedy® or a Thundershirt (both are available in most pet supplies stores) to help ease your dog’s anxiety.
- Check your dog thoroughly for any injuries when you return home. Some dogs become so upset by the noise that they chew their skin raw. Other dogs may hurt themselves if they try to escape. Make sure to keep your dog secured in a room that is free of dangers, such as dangling power cords, furniture that is easily tipped over, etc.
- Consider boarding your dog for the weekend if you have to leave your him during the celebrations and are concerned about his safety – but hurry, many local boarding facilities are booking up fast.
- Watch what your dog is enjoying at the barbecue. In moderation, many human foods are safe for your pet. Beef is the #1 ingredient in your dog’s kibble, so you can bet that he’d appreciate a little piece of unseasoned meat grilled especially for him. However, foods like onions, chocolate, grapes and raisins, garlic, alcohol, raw potatoes, and others can be extremely harmful – even fatal – to dogs. Check the ASPCA Poison Control website for a longer list of human foods that your dog should never eat.
- Be sure your dog stays hydrated and cool. The forecast for this weekend calls for temperatures in the mid-90s, so your dog needs plenty of fresh, cool water available to him. For more information about heat safety, check out these tips for preventing heatstroke in your dog.
If you have any additional tips or warning about Fourth of July safety, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great holiday!