4th of July Safety Tips for Dogs

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    The 4th of July is a holiday celebrated nationwide with BBQs, parties, and fireworks. Throughout the weekend that celebrations occur, dogs are sent to the emergency room for various holiday-related injuries. For parties, a dog can detect the oncoming bustle when groups of relatives and friends gather as things in the household change and move, and strangers including children suddenly impede your dog’s safe space. Even worse than that are the booming fireworks that can shake a dog to their core. In anticipation of the coming holiday weekend, we put together some safety tips to keep your dog safe and happy.

    Keep Identification Up to Date

    More dogs are lost on the 4th of July than on any other holiday. The stress can cause them to want to escape in any way they can. But it’s also possible as people come in and out of your house or yard. You will want to make sure that their microchip has up to date information on it as well as their tags and keep a collar on your dog at all times with the tags. Only 15% of dogs in shelters without tags or microchips are reunited with their owners so keeping their identification present and up to date increases that chance of being reunited. 

    Create a Secure, Safe Space

    Keeping dogs inside during the 4th of July celebrations is the best way to sure their safety as parties commence and the loud boom of fireworks shakes them to their core. Once the activities begin, keep your pet in a safe place where they will feel comfortable and blocked off from any doors if strangers are coming in and out. If your dog is crate trained, place them  in their crate with a blanket to provide a sense of security. Lowering the blinds and putting on the television or radio might also assist to filter out outside sights and sounds. And remember that just because you have a fence, it does not mean your pet still won’t try to escape the yard when stressed so indoors is always the safest! 

    Have You Tried Medications?

    Certain medications, pheromones, and supplements can really help calm down your petrified dog. There’s a variety of medications both over the counter and prescription available for anxiety relief:

    • Benadryl®
    • Sileo® (medetomidine)
    • Alprazolam (Xanax®)
    • Diazepam (Valium®) 
    • Clomipramine (Clomicalm®)
    • Trazodone 
    • Fluoxetine (Prozac®

    Only give your dog medication that has been approved by your vet whether it’s a prescription or not.

    Consider Going Out of Town

    If nothing really help your dog with fireworks, you could consider going out of town. Our favorite optoin is taking a weekend camping trip but make sure there’s nowhere nearby doing fireworks. Some hotels are pretty soundproof you can’t hear anything or hear very limited sounds outside. That could also be a viable option if you aren’t a camping family! If you aren’t sure where you can take your dog, here’s a list of pet friendly hotel chains.

    Other Relief Options

    There are plenty of non-medicated relief options for dogs who are scared of fireworks 

    Supplements

    Calming supplements can help ease your dog’s stress naturally as the ingredients are often derived from foods with natural psychological benefits. They can also often be the first step to try before prescription medications. You may even consider CBD drops or supplements as an alternative. 

    Phermones

    You can place calming pheromone diffusers near your pet’s safe zone or lightly sprinkle their bedding with a spray. The pheromone mimics one that lactating mother animals release to soothe their young. A popular option is Adaptil.

    Anti-Anxiety Wraps

    You may have heard of ThunderShirts, a vest for dogs (and cats) that hugs the body gently with a constant pressure to help ease anxiety. But, you don’t necessarily need a special product to acomplish this. You can easily DIY an anxiety wrap! Check out this tutorial to learn how.

    Keep Items Out of Reach

    Photo Credit: iStock/FatCamera

    If your dog is fine in usual high-stress situations and can be around a party outdoors and isn’t affected by fireworks, there are still some safety precautions to take as with any party. With 4th of July BBQs, parties, or picnics, there’s a variety of objects, food, and drinks that are considered poisonous to dogs that they can get into and send them to the ER. Keep foods up high and don’t put down plates on surfaces that your dog can get to. The appeal of leftover BBQ chicken, corn cobs, and other such foods is frequently too powerful for any dog to resist, and these dietary errors can result in pancreatitis, gastroenteritis, and intestinal foreign bodies that require surgical removal. Alcohol should also be put out of reach as even ingesting small quantities can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.

    Other summer and 4th of July items can be poisonous or toxic. If you want to use sunscreen on your dog, make sure it’s a dog-safe sunscreen as ingestion can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and extreme lethargy. Other items to take into consideration that might be lying around are lighter fluid and packaged fireworks. 

    You can learn more about foods that can be toxic here or find a complete list of poisons and toxins from the Pet Poison Control Helpline. 

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