As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, everyone is looking forward to the upcoming events. Picnics, parades and fireworks are so much fun for families and children of all ages.
But what does your family dog think of all these festivities? The answer is they are probably not as excited about it as you are. Crowds of people and loud noises are not a favorite for most dogs, so here are a few tips to help make the Fourth of July weekend more enjoyable for your four-legged friend too:
It may be best to leave your pup at home for this one. There is a lot of activity at parades – crowds of people, loud noises, items being thrown - it may just be too much for your dog.
If you really want to include your dog in this tradition, be sure to take the following precautions:
• Keep your dog on a leash. We would suggest a 4 or 6 ft non-retractable one in order to best be able to maneuver your dog through a crowd or keep him away from things he shouldn't have.
• Watch out for thrown candy. Candy wrappers, chocolate and sucker sticks could be lethal to your dog. Keep an eye out to make sure he doesn't snag a stray piece or two.
• Bring water and offer it often to keep him hydrated.
• Don’t stay out too long if you’re dog does not handle the heat well.
• Definitely do not leave your dog in the car during the length of the parade. Hot cars are extremely dangerous even for short periods of time.
As we’ve stated in other holiday related articles, the biggest danger for dogs during gatherings like these is food. Be sure to keep the “people food” on the people plates. This will avoid any stomach irritations for your dog, which is good in any case, but especially if fireworks are that evening.
Sparklers, at home fireworks, and other related products could also present several dangers to your pet. For instance:
• Anything that you light is obviously potential for burns for people and animals alike. Be careful and be very aware of who is around you.
• Fur could catch fire easily. Be especially careful with your kids and the sparklers they may be having fun with.
• Some of the firework “toys” could frighten dogs. Especially the snapping, growing or popping ones. Best to keep your dog inside during these demonstrations to make sure they don’t get spooked or try to eat the remains. Do not let children (or adults for that matter) tease the family dog with any of these toys. Even the most passive dog can be very unpredictable when frightened or hurt.
Fireworks are tough for dogs. We all know how loud fireworks are for us, but keep in mind dogs have much more acute hearing than we do. Even from inside the house, fireworks can be downright frightening. A dog’s reaction to fireworks may be similar to thunderstorm anxiety.
Specific tips for an uneventful fireworks experience include:
• No question on this one. Leave your dog home safe in his crate, favorite room or even a bathroom.
• Play some soothing music (or your dog’s favorite) to help drown out the noise of the fireworks.
• Be sure all doors and pet doors are locked in the unlikely event of an escape. In a moment of panic, your dog may try and come to find you (wherever you may be) to find comfort.
• Be sure his or her collar and tags are on in case of an escape.
• If there are accidents when you get home, try not to be upset. Keep in mind the reaction was due to fear and nothing else.
We wish you and your family a very safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend!