Holidays

How to keep your dog safe, not stressed, on Fourth of July

While Fourth of July fireworks are fun for people, the noises, bright flashes and burning smell can send some dogs into a panic.
While Fourth of July fireworks are fun for people, the noises, bright flashes and burning smell can send some dogs into a panic. bnguyen@sacbee.com

While Fourth of July fireworks are fun for people, the noises, bright flashes and burning smell can send dogs into a panic.

The American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters due to all the pets that run away from home and end up lost.

Here are five easy tips to help you keep your dog safe and happy on the Fourth of July.

1. Keep your dog at home and indoors

Fireworks displays and parties are crowded and unfamiliar to dogs and can cause them to become anxious and run away in a desperate attempt to seek shelter. The safest place for your dog is at home. Even if your dog is used to being outside, the resulting panic of fireworks can cause your dog to jump the fence.

2. Create a safe haven

Designate a sheltered, escape-proof part of your home in which your dog can de-stress. Close windows and blinds and turn on the TV or put on some light music to mask the sights and sounds of fireworks. Make sure the safe haven is large enough for your dog to be able to stretch out and rest comfortably. Provide a blanket or bed, your dog’s favorite toys, some treats and plenty of fresh, cool water. This safe haven serves as a den for your dog, so that when your dog feels anxious, he or she can seek shelter there.

3. Keep your dog on its normal diet

Dogs, especially older dogs, have sensitive digestive systems that can be further disturbed by stress. This Fourth of July, keep your pet’s diet consistent. Don’t give your dog human food or dangerous substances such as alcohol or drugs. Keep glow jewelry, matches, lighter fluid, sunscreen and bug spray meant for humans away from your dog. Additionally, remember that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough are potentially toxic to dogs.

4. Act normal

Dogs are extremely sensitive to your behavior. If you and your family go about your routine as normally as possible, your dog won’t be further agitated by the noise and stress of the holiday season. Talk to and play with your dog. Make them feel safe by petting them, hugging them, providing a treat, and staying nearby if possible.

5. Be prepared

It is always good to be prepared for worst-case scenarios. Make sure your dog is wearing his or her collar and that the information on it is up to date and includes your phone number, name and address. Consider having your pet microchipped in case he or she gets lost. Have a recent photo of your dog ready in case you need to put up signs. If you lose your pet, call your local animal shelter as soon as possible.

For more information and tips about pet safety during the Fourth of July, visit the ASPCA website.

Emily King: 916-321-1038

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