Independence Day, more popularly known as the 4th of July, is supposed to be spent with loved ones playing in the sun, barbecuing your favorite foods and laughing. However, your furry friends may not have such a good time on this summer day. According to the American Kennel Club, more lost pets disappear from home between the 4th and 6th of July than any other time of the year. Losing such an important family member can sour joyful patriotic festivities and cloud the rest of the summer.
However, your feelings pale in comparison to the anxiety and fear your lost dog experiences. Since July is the Lost Pet Prevention Month, we’ve outlined five 4th of July dog safety tips to ensure all your loved ones enjoy the full summer season.
5 Pet Safety Tips for Responsible Pet Owners
The 4th of July festivities usually involve spending multiple days swimming, sailing or basking under the hot summer sun. Most people also barbecue up a storm, filling the air with enticing scents of sizzling meat. Dogs usually love all these activities, especially because they get to spend long days with their humans. Because of your dog’s excitement, it’s easy to close your eyes to potential risks to their health and safety. However, many things that bring humans joy, such as the warm sun, delicious food, loud music and fireworks, may seriously harm your pet.
These safety tips can allow your pup to participate in Independence Day festivities safely.
Human Food Isn’t Dog Food
Dogs can’t resist the scent of barbecued meat, so your pup will stare longingly as you grill and want to share perfectly roasted meat slices with your loved ones. Don’t let those large puppy eyes deceive you into throwing them the occasional piece of meat. Dogs are allergic to ingredients that make human barbecue meals delicious, including garlic, onions, chives and chili. A slice of seasoned meat can irritate your pup’s intestines, causing them to bloat, vomit or have diarrhea.
Avoid giving your pet bones from cooked or grilled meat because they can break and puncture your dog’s gums, cheeks, stomach and intestines. Fruits like watermelons and vegetables such as corn on the cob can also wreak havoc in your pup’s gut. Clear table scraps immediately after eating to keep your pet away from harmful foods.
You can include your dog in the festivities by offering it a thick slice of grilled, unseasoned steak as everyone sits down to eat.
Lock Up Cosmetics and Medications
Smart people apply layers of sunscreen when spending time in the sun and spray insect repellent to keep bugs and mosquitoes away on summer evenings. However, most brands of human sunscreen and bug spray have chemicals that are toxic to dogs.
Curious pets can chew on sunscreen tubes and insect-repellent cans or lick the products off your skin. Zinc oxide, commonly found in human sunscreen, can make your dog vomit or have diarrhea. A chemical called DEET, found in insect repellents, poisons dogs, leading to drooling, vomiting, confusion and seizures.
Applying sunscreens and insect repellents with dog-safe ingredients is a better way of ensuring everyone enjoys the 4th of July celebrations.
Keep Your Dog From the Sun
Everyone loves spending time outdoors soaking up the summer sun. However, like you, dogs can suffer from sun overexposure and heatstroke. High temperatures can burn your pup’s paw pads and skin, causing immense pain. Dogs with thick fur may find it hard to stay cool in temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees F, and pets with light fur can struggle in temperatures above 90 degrees.
You can safely play with your pup under the summer sun early in the morning and later in the afternoon. During the day, keep your pup under the shade of a tree, outdoor patio, tent or umbrella. Give it lots of cold water to keep its body temperature low so it doesn’t suffer from heatstroke.
Chip Your Pup
Your pup can disappear during events such as cookouts with friends and family, block parties and Fourth of July festivals. Putting ID tags featuring your name, address and contact information on your pet’s collar makes it easy for people who find them to reach you.
Microchipping your pet is another way of preparing your pup for the 4th of July holiday. A veterinarian can scan the microchip to find your contact details and safely return your lost pup.
No to Glow
Glow sticks and glow jewelry such as bracelets and necklaces are not so fun when your dog eats them. The chemicals that produce the glow effect are toxic and can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Moreover, your dog may choke on the plastic used to make glow items and experience breathing problems, respiratory failure or death. If these glow items are crucial to your Fourth of July celebrations, lock them away in a high cabinet when not in use to lower the chances of your pup chewing or ingesting them.
Training a Dog for Fireworks Noises
Dogs hate fireworks displays, a staple of Fourth of July celebrations. The loud noises and bright lights scare and disorient dogs, making them run away and get lost.
Most neighborhoods and towns set up a fireworks display on the evening of July 4th. While you may not be able to completely shield your pup from the fireworks, training can reduce their anxiety and keep them safe.
Desensitize Your Pet
Exposure to scary noises in a safe, escape-proof area can reduce your pet’s anxiety when they encounter loud noises in real life. Cesar Millan, the world renowned dog behaviorist, suggests keeping your dog safe on the 4th of July by playing loud sounds of music, people talking, gunfire, whistles and crackles on a speaker. Persistent training ensures that the actual sounds of a party or fireworks going off don’t cause them disorienting anxiety.
Keep Them in a Quiet Room at Home
Most animals don’t enjoy a fireworks show, so keep pets inside when you watch fireworks. Leave them in a safe, quiet room in the home with easy access to water, snacks and litter. Surround them with their favorite toys, and play white noise on a speaker to keep them calm when the fireworks start.
Help Them Relax
Dogs relax faster when they’re tired. In addition to audible training, Cesar Millan also recommends exercising your dog for an hour or more on July 4th, as this can make them fall into a deep sleep before a fireworks show.
You can also feed nervous pets treats and supplements with ingredients such as melatonin, chamomile, lavender and vitamin B to keep them calm on the 4th of July.
GPS Fence for Curious Pets
Reinforcing these July safety tips with the Halo Collar is a great way of keeping your pup safe during the next Independence Day celebration. The Halo Collar uses GPS technology to create invisible fences where your dog can safely play and relax. The collar issues gentle, nonshock feedback when your pup crosses a fence, prompting it to return to safety. You can easily track your pup’s location on your phone and quickly retrieve it if lost.
The Halo Collar can store up to 20 unique fences, so you can keep your dog safe in your home, neighborhood or favorite vacation spot. Get the Halo Collar today to keep your dog safe during the next 4th of July celebrations.