Seven 4th of July Dog Safety Tips
July 4th is the time of year for family gatherings, BBQ’s, and fireworks, so of course you want to include your four-legged family members! As tempting as that is, certain activities during the 4th of July can be far from fun for some dogs. The loud sounds and bright lights can sometimes make them shake, bark, hide under furniture, or even worse, run away.
Not only is this holiday stressful for your dog, but it can also be a taxing time for pet parents just trying to keep their pup safe and happy during the holiday. So, to make this Independence Day as happy and enjoyable as possible for you and your pup, we’ve put together the following list of seven useful 4th of July dog safety tips.
Give them plenty of exercise the day of the fireworks.
Before the festivities begin, why not take your pup for a long walk or go play in their favorite park? A tired dog is generally more calm, relaxed, and less likely to become anxious. Additionally, you can provide plenty of mental stimulation with interactive toys, puzzles, or treat-dispensing gadgets. These distractions will help divert their attention from the outside noise and direct them towards a positive and constructive activity.
Resist the urge to take your dog to a 4th of July fireworks display.
If possible, keep your dog safe at home during fireworks displays. The loud noises can be extremely distressing, causing them to panic or even try to run away. Instead, close all the windows and curtains to muffle the sound and hide the flashing lights. You can also turn on soft music, the TV, or white noise to help mask the outside sounds.
Remember, some dogs don’t bark or cry when they are upset—so watch for excessive yawning and panting. These behaviors could be a sign of distress.
Consider having them spend the day visiting a friend.
On the 4th of July, dogs don’t know it is different from any other day. So don’t feel like your best friend is missing out on all the holiday fun if they aren’t involved. They will be happier and safer in a quiet and controlled environment.
If you plan to throw a party with fireworks, check to see if you have a dog-loving friend who is having a quieter night. Sometimes the best option for your pup is to remove them from the situation entirely.
Provide them with a safe place to “hide.”
On the 4th of July, dogs tend to get easily worked up. One of the best ways to alleviate stress for your dog during fireworks is by creating a designated safe space in your home. Start by choosing a quiet, safe area where your dog feels the most comfortable. This could be anything from a doggie bed in the corner to a crate or kennel box in their favorite room.
Wherever their safe space is, make sure it is secure, with no possible escape routes, and provide familiar items like their favorite toys, a water bowl, and some snacks. This will eliminate the need for them to leave if they are scared.
If you are at home, try to engage your dog in activities they enjoy. Play their favorite games, practice obedience training, or offer interactive toys filled with tasty treats. By redirecting their attention, you can help shift their focus away from the fireworks.
You will also want to resist the temptation to coddle your dog, which can reinforce their fearful behavior. Stick to distraction, it is the most productive way to counter their fears.
Try a canine anxiety wrap.
The key to a successful canine anxiety wrap is to start using it before the fireworks or celebrations begin. Although some dogs respond positively on the first use, others need two or three uses to get accustomed to the process.
Since your dog needs to be in a calm state before the noise starts, introducing them to a new technique on the day of may be overwhelming and defeat the purpose. Make sure to give them plenty of time to warm up to the wrap by starting a week or two in advance.
Take them for their evening walk before the fireworks begin.
Make sure to walk your dog or let them out to do their business just before dusk and then again after the fireworks are over. This will help avoid needing to take them out during the noisiest time of the night. It will also help you focus on the show!
Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy All Year Round
The 4th of July is an exciting time for us humans, but it's important to remember that it can be an overwhelming experience for our canine companions. By taking proactive measures and following these 4th of July dog safety tips, we can help minimize their anxiety and ensure a safe, happy holiday for our dogs.
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