4th of July Dog Safety – Where’s *Your* Dog?

by Mary Haight on July 3, 2013

4th of July dog safetyThis 4th of July is the 237th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  We mark this day as a celebration of America and her history, with parades, picnics, concerts and the eagerly anticipated fireworks displays. From the very young to the very old, we are enchanted by the fairy dust fireworks seem to exude. They delight the eye and, for adults, satisfy that 8-year-0ld part of us that remembers all the other 4ths enjoyed while growing up.

The 4th of July is a day of fun for families, although the furry members have a hard time seeing any fun or magic in the day at all. Of special note, most detest the loud booms that mimic cannon fire, and the crackling and whistling noises that seem to have the house — or the whole neighborhood — surrounded. For many pets, this is the worst day of Hell week! How can we make 4th of July less traumatic for them? What kind of 4th of July dog safety tips can help?

As you have probably experienced, the 4th is celebrated over the whole week, thanks to neighbors who have their own stash of rockets launching from backyards across the country. I turn up the volume on the television when the booms begin, and that seems to distract my dog from focusing on the “bad noise”, well, most of the time. We play some games too using high value treats to redirect his attention, but let me give you a list of tips that should come in handy this holiday:

  1. If you’re going to be on a beach, you’ll need to beware of heatstroke in your dog. Things to watch for are panting that won’t quit, he stops playing and won’t engage, has a bright red tongue and gums and bloodshot eyes.

Never force a dog to drink water, you can drown him. Retrieve your dog’s emergency first aid kit, find the thermometer, and take his temperature.  Don’t ice him down, just put a cool (not cold) wet cloth on his body and keep changing the dressing, preferably while driving him to the nearest emergency vet. Take his temperature again at ten minutes, stop using the cool compresses and report both temperature readings to the doctor on duty.

2. Don’t take your dog to a fireworks display.

3. Keep pets inside. Dogs have been known to dig under fencing or take a flying leap in panic.

4. Keep your drapes closed, turn on the tv and increase the volume. You can also use a noisy fan to masque more fireworks noise.

5. Consider trying a Thundershirt wrap. It works on many dogs to cut down anxiety.

6. Valerian Root is often advised as an alternative to more powerful drugs. Discuss this with your vet to determine if it is suitable for your  dog’s condition.

7. Bach’s Flower Rescue Remedy is a natural stress relief spray for pets.

8. Microchip. In case your dog escapes, as so many do on this holiday, it will be easier to find him in the sea of shelters and rescues out there.

There are tips available in many places, and I suggest you check several sites. We all come at the problems of this holiday for our pets from different perspectives. The ASPCA is focused this year on things that happen at a picnic or barbeque. The AVMA has a podcast on how to keep your pets safe,    Steve Dale and Dr Lorie Huston both wrote to the heart of matters. Lots of excellent source material worth a read!

4th of July dog safety should be easy after checking out all these tips! Have fun =)

Previous post:

Next post: