With Independence Day right around the corner, you’re bound to be in the mood for some good old-fashioned summer fun. You may even feel that familiar swell of patriotic pride in your chest as American flags and “USA” decorations begin to appear just about everywhere.
Chances are, you even have some Fourth of July plans. Whether it’s grilling up some delicious burgers by the pool, simply spending quality time with family and loved ones, or seeking out the most outlandish fireworks show you can find, this is a holiday that is hard to ignore.
While it may all be fun and games for us humans, the Fourth of July is usually not a blast for pets—especially dogs. From the explosive noises to the presence of alcohol, our canine compatriots don’t enjoy the festivities as we do. In fact, the holiday can actually be dangerous for them.
We know you America, but your pup is a priority, too. So, what can you do to ensure you can indulge in all of America’s birthday activities while still keeping your furry friend safe? By reading and utilizing our five tips and tricks to keep your dog safe this Fourth of July, of course!
We know how tempting it can be to take your four-legged friend with you pretty much everywhere you go, especially when social gatherings are involved. Who doesn’t love the attention of strangers, after all? Your pup probably does!
Unfortunately, it’s best to isolate your best buddy from the hectic nature of this particular holiday. The overstimulation of crowds and fireworks can coalesce to form the perfect storm, making it more likely for your dog to bolt for a change in scenery. It’s not that they suddenly don’t love you unconditionally, they just get frightened!
If you must take your dog to the festivities, a leash is an absolute must. The best option, though, is to leave them indoors, safe and secure.
…and the dog doesn’t drink. While us two-legged partygoers can choose whether or not to partake of alcohol, dogs cannot. In fact, if ingested in a substantial enough quantity it can be fatal to our pooch pals. This can be dependent on a few factors, including the size of the dog and the ethanol content of the particular drink.
Long story short, keep your eye on the punch bowl. We all know how dogs love to get into human food and drinks—don’t let your fun night turn disastrous for your pup!
As humans, we have both the intuition and experience to know when someone may need help. Whether it’s a glazed look on their face, a sudden change in behavior, or any other myriad of warning signs, we’re relatively quick to notice when something might be wrong, even in the midst of celebration.
If you’re a dog owner—which you probably are given you’re reading this—you can likely identify some of those same warning signs in your beloved pup. Around Independence Day, being attuned to them could be the difference between surviving the holiday unscathed and experiencing disaster.
Shivering and shaking are two of the easiest identifiers of increased anxiety in a dog. Other things to look for include increased panting and saliva, more-than-normal clinginess, or even the propensity to run away or seek a hiding spot. If your pup exhibits any of these signs, it’s important to try to calm them down!
In certain circumstances, your dog may need anti-anxiety medication to help their demeanor, especially around the Fourth of July. For our purposes, however, we’re going to assume this is not one of those rare cases, and for most frightened furballs some simple calming techniques will be enough to help them through the night.
While keeping them indoors is a good start, creating a safe space can accentuate those already-present benefits. It could be a crate or any other confined space wherein your pup is most comfortable. Filling that area with their favorite things—toys, blankets, and so on—can help, too. You can further this feeling of security by making sure the curtains are closed—the less of the outside chaos that gets inside the better.
Speaking of keeping the festivities outside, you may want to consider playing music for your dog. By establishing the music before the fireworks, you help drown out and eliminate the discomfort that can come from the hectic, unpredictable fireworks.
In a stroke of genius that is the complete opposite of pre-gaming, pre-exhausting your pup can be hugely beneficial in keeping them calm during the madness that is America’s birthday party. Whether it’s a date at the dog park or just some one-on-one fetch in the backyard, making sure your canine companion has expended most of their energy before the block starts to rock is a great way to keep them safe.
If you have one of those special breeds that seem to have perpetual energy, giving them something to do as the festivities take place can also be effective. The main thing to take away is that activity is a good idea!
While America wasn’t technically founded to provide dogs everywhere with unlimited freedom, we’re pretty sure everyone who signed the Declaration of Independence loved dogs. Can we prove it? No, but there’s a good chance it’s true!
So, go out there this Fourth of July and celebrate the one and the only US of A. Roast some hotdogs and over-indulge in freedom and patriotism. Heck, dress in stars and strips from your head to your toes, if you want! Just don’t forget to take care of our country’s most valuable assets—our adorable pups.
No matter how you enjoy one of America’s crowning achievements, remember that a true patriot looks out for others. Especially when those others are covered in fur and filled with untamable love!