Enjoying the Fireworks with Your Dog this 4th of July

Jul 01, 2019     |      Sophie's Circle

Dog wearing fourth of July glassesAs with any holiday, the 4th of July can bring changes to routines, new foods being dropped by guests and hosts alike, parties and community events to attend, and, of course, unusual sounds and smells. While it all sounds good to us as humans, all this excitement can result in your dog seeking safer shelter or spending some unexpected time at the local vet instead of enjoying the festivities. That's why we suggest these safety tips for the 4th of July to keep your pet tail-wagging ready for whatever the holiday brings. 

A Place of His Own
Do you have an anxiety-plagued dog or one that finds destructive habits soothing? If you are planning to attend a party or fireworks display while your dog stays home, the loud exploding sounds and the separation from you may only make these issues worse. Consider placing crate-trained dogs in their enclosed safe spaces for a feeling of security and comfort while you are away. For dogs who are not crate-trained, you may want to create a safe escape-proof play pin area. There are also some products you can try, such as Thunder Shirts. If none of these suggestions help, contact your vet for additional tips pertaining to your dog's specific temperament, breed and situation.

Break Out The Classics 
Turning on the classical music channel while you are away can keep soothing sounds flowing in between the bursts of loud sound from the fireworks resulting in less fear. It's like watching a scary movie without the quiet moments before the jump scare. Your dog will still hear and react to the fireworks, though the music may be just enough in between noise to keep him from being overly upset.

Stay Calm 
Anyone who has watched Ceasar train dogs on his show has heard him say the term "Calm Assertive Energy" repeatedly. If you have seen the show, you know this approach works wonders! Like children, your dogs observe and mirror your emotional state. He will look for and react to every detail of your body language and voice tone. Therefore, instead of rushing about to get all the party supplies together for the cookout, leave room in your schedule to slow down. Act like it is just another day at the office where you happen to be bringing some extra cookies and a side dish to your co-workers.

Walk Around the Block
Exercise is another great way to relieve anxious energy. Try tossing the ball for your dog or taking a walk with him before you leave for a holiday event. This is also a great way to bond with your furry friend. Just remember to check the temps to time your walks where overheating is not as much of a concern. 

The Life of the Party
If you decide to bring your dog with you to the event, take his leash. We know all your friends and family members love your dog. Who wouldn't? But, there are a few hazards when it comes to dogs and parties. A loose dog can tip over someone's drink or plate making himself into more of a nuisance than the loveable pooch he is. More importantly, he can tip over a grill, knock someone down by getting excited, or run away to seek shelter from the loud sounds when the fireworks start. Therefore, keeping him safe at an event means keeping him close by you where you hold his leash or tie him up someplace in the shade with plenty of water where he cannot get into trouble.

Wait! Don't Eat That!
Speaking of party fouls. Grills and toddlers afford ample opportunities for dogs to enjoy eating dropped food that may later lead to an emergency vet visit. This is because food items that are toxic to dogs, such as onions, avocadoes, grapes, raisins and chocolate are often served at parties. Be sure to stay vigilant when bringing your dog to any social event where these foods are being served.

While the sounds of fireworks may be frightening to your dog and the smells and sights of a large social event may overwhelm him with excitement, you can use the above tips to dial back the level of both panic-driven and general hyper behaviors your dog exhibits. By including these small changes throughout this fourth of July holiday and any holiday where loud noises, crowds of people, and lots of food may be present, you can help your dog have a safer and less anxious experience leaving you more time to relax as well while you enjoy all the holiday has to offer with friends and family. After all, this is a time for celebration, not hiding under the bed!