The Fourth of July is one of the highlights of the summer for many Americans – but not for American dogs.
More pets are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year. While fireworks are usually the cause, there are other doggie stressors and dangers out there as well.
Here are seven tips to keep dogs (and other pets) safe this July 4th:
1. Keep lighters, charcoal, lighter fluid, matches, sparklers, citronella candles, glow sticks, fireworks and open flame away from dogs.
All of these items are dangerous and if ingested can cause stomach upset, intestinal blockage, and severe, potentially life-threatening burns.
2. Never apply insect repellent or sunscreen to dogs unless it is specifically labeled pet safe.
Ingesting sunscreen can cause severe stomach upset and lethargy while insect repellent with DEET can lead to neurological problems.
3. Keep your dog on their normal diet.
Do not leave food or alcoholic beverages unattended. Even if your dog is usually well behaved, they may be nervous and act (and eat) unpredictably. Provide your guests with approved dog treats and ask them not to feed your dog anything special.
4. Keep your dog hydrated.
Dogs should have access to fresh water at all times. A DIY, dog-safe Popsicle or a frozen Kong are great ways to keep your dog cool and hydrated.
5. Walk or exercise your dog early in the day.
Take an extra long walk in the morning before the fireworks and parties start so your dog can stay inside when things get crazy.
6. Fireworks are NO fun for dogs (or other pets).
Firework displays are loud, crowded, and frightening. Please leave your dog home in a safe space with comfort items and gentle music playing to help him relax.
7. Be prepared in case the worst happens and your dog gets lost.
Make sure your dog has a microchip with updated contact information. Your dog should be wearing a collar (and leash if outside) at all times with visible ID tags that include his/her name as well as your phone number and current address. Be sure to also have recent photos for lost signs.
Keep in mind that your dog may act differently when stressed or frightened. Don’t assume they won’t bolt under certain circumstances – because they might. Always be prepared and celebrate safely!
Kristin Avery is a writer and photographer with an extensive background in philanthropy and a life-long passion for animal welfare. Her blog, The Daily Pip, is an award-winning, lifestyle pet blog providing resources, support, and humor for rescue families. She was recently honored with two BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Social Media Awards this year: Best Cause Blog and Best Written Blog Post.
Kristin received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied creative writing as well as installation and visual arts. After graduation, she was a founding member of Red Door Animal Shelter, a no-kill shelter for cats, dogs, and rabbits in Chicago. She enjoys working with local Chicago shelters and also recently spent several days at Best Friends Animal Society volunteering at Quincy House with cats with severe special needs including paralysis. Through her blog and volunteer work, she encourages and advocates for rescue and adoption, especially for those animals considered less adoptable. She currently shares her home with one dog, one rabbit, two cats, a husband and 10-year-old daughter.