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Celebrate Safely: 7 Tips to Help Your Dog Have a Great 4th of July

this post is part of a special safety series supported by Tom and Cindy Love in memory of their dog Gizmo

Summer is finally here, and that means fireworks, festivities and fun. But while the 4th of July is a much-anticipated holiday for family and friends, it can be a scary and sometimes dangerous time for dogs.

We’d all like our furry friends to be part of our holiday celebrations, so keeping them comfortable and protected is key. Here are tips to help you and your dog enjoy the 4th safely.

1. Put Pets First. You might want your dog with you at a parade or party, but if you think she might be scared or upset by loud noises and crowds, consider leaving her at home. The anxiety of new experiences can cause stress and even lead to dogs running away to hide.

fearful dog hiding under bed2. Beware the Booms. Even if you stay home on the 4th, the noise of the fireworks can still cause anxiety for your dog. Block unwelcome sights, sounds and scares by lowering blinds and closing curtains. Create white noise by turning on the TV or playing familiar music. And, talk to your vet ahead of time if you think your dog’s stress may be significant.

3. Avoid Tempting Hazards. While glow sticks or plastic jewelry can add a festive touch, be sure to keep them away from curious pets. A dog that chews on a glow stick can break through to the chemical inside. Plastic pieces from decorations can end up being eaten and causing health issues or blockages.

4. Don’t Risk Getting Lost! More pets go missing around July 4th than any other time of year. From the unexpected sounds to the bright lights and crowds, frightened dogs may try to flee. Make sure your dog is wearing a secure collar with a current ID tag. And, of course, be sure he has a microchip with up-to-date registration info, just in case.

family outside at party with dog5. Party with Pets in Mind. If you have guests over to celebrate, make sure your dog is in a safe, secure room or crated during the party. Let guests know there is a dog in the house, in case she gets loose and tries to run out the door. And, never allow your guests to set off fireworks with a pet on the premises!

6. Avoid Food Hazards. Picnics are a favorite part of parties for the 4th. But, be sure to keep dogs away from “people” food and drinks that could be unhealthy for them. Feed them their regular meal before picnic foods are served, so they aren’t overly hungry. And, make sure all trash and food scraps are disposed of immediately in secure containers.

7. Check Your Yard. When the fun has ended and the last sparkler burned out, hazards can still remain. Check your yard carefully for debris or unspent holiday fireworks. Even if you didn’t use them yourself, items from neighbors may have landed in your yard. Make sure your yard is safe before letting your dog out to play.

Here are some additional resources to help:

Please share this post to help spread the word and keep dogs safe.