Celebrate (Carefully): The 4th of July

While Fourth of July is such a wonderful day of celebration, for our dogs it might be single handedly one of the most trying days. We often hear the stories of dogs who shudder and are terrified of the sounds and this of course is an obvious point, but a thing we forget about is our celebrations can often cause other issues for our dogs.

Let's look at a typical event: The BBQ - a wonderful gathering of friends and relatives for a good old fashioned cook out. Some of things to be careful of are our gates and doors being left open, with people coming and going. It seems trivial, but many of us (my house included) do not have their dogs wearing their collars when at home. We found out how dangerous this could be when someone left our gate open just enough for Rufus to take a stroll. No collar, no tags. He’s friendly enough to walk up to anyone and as someone who found him once before said “Here is a great dog…” He was about a block away sitting in a driveway seemingly waiting for us to find him. We were lucky. Others have not been so lucky as we see the ever present list of missing dogs on social media.

The grill is a danger we often ignore, but the smells coming from that are DE-LIGHT-FUL to a dog, the hot grease that can hit the drip pan can do so at extremely high temperatures, so be sure that your pan is secure and that your dog doesn’t have access to the grill or the area.

If you are going somewhere else for the holiday - be conscious of your dog being home alone - close all the windows and turn on the air conditioning - turn on fans and maybe the TV or a radio to drown out the sounds from outside. If they are used to be crated, you may want to crate them and maybe give them a treat to keep them busy (frozen Kongs are great for this). If your dog is seriously traumatized by noise, talk to your vet for suggestions of medications or other remedies. A thunder shirt can work well for some dogs. You can fashion one using Ace bandages and a t-shirt if you don’t have a traditional thunder shirt.

Finally, that last little bit of paper and shrapnel (for lack of a better term) from everyones celebrations will be laying around your yard or on your walk. Water balloons turn into tiny pieces of rubber, firecrackers are paper with toxic chemicals, and bones from chicken or ribs all can be ingested causing a gastric nightmare for you and your pet (and you will be looking at emergency vet visits if severe!).

Realizing the danger of everyday events is obvious, but summer holidays prove to be challenging for pet owners when it comes to spending time outside or with others. Your dog who normally is great with strangers (and children) may react differently when fireworks are going off. I myself was bit as a child by a dog on the fourth of July. We were playing and a firework went off - he turned to run and his mouth hit my face - resulting in a crescent shaped cut next to my eye. It's a reminder that accidents happen and no one is at fault.

If your dog is staying with us - well, we have it all covered. We adjust our times for the dogs to go out so it’s not prime time for fireworks. We keep our fans on, the sound machines playing and lots of extra playtime! Oh, and cuddles- lots and lots of cuddles!

Have fun, be careful, have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July!

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