Top 5 Fourth of July Safety Tips for Dogs

June 29, 2022

dog safety on the Fourth of July

It’s hard to believe July 4th is almost here! Celebrating Independence Day with fireworks, picnics, and good company are just a few of the traditions people enjoy on this festive holiday. By good company, we of course mean your furry family member! Whether you stay home or travel for the Fourth of July we wanted to provide you with our top 5 safety tips to help you prepare and keep your pup safe this Independence Day. 

1. Double check your pups ID tag or microchip information

From noisy fireworks to a crowded barbeque with people walking in and out of the house, the festivities can pose many safety challenges. If your dog is startled by a loud noise or escapes out an open door, they could become lost. Sadly, more pets become lost between July 4th and 6th than any other time of the year. Making it that much more important to double check that your pup has a properly fitted collar and an ID tag and/or microchip with your current contact information. We recommend microchipping your dog if you haven’t already done so. Microchipping provides your pet with permanent identification and extra reassurance for you if for some reason your dog slips out of their collar. It does not have locator abilities, but allows your pet to be reunited with you quicker if they are found and taken to a shelter or veterinary facility. 

2. Consider leaving your pup at home and indoors

Heading out of town or away for the day on the Fourth? Consider leaving your pup home with a trusted pet sitter or at a boarding facility while you are away. If you are staying home and you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks, playing with sparklers, or the grill is on, keep your dogs inside to protect them from getting burned or frightened. For some dogs and nervous-natured pups, loud noises or crowds could startle them and cause them to flee somewhere else. Keeping them indoors helps ensure their safety. 

Additionally, it’s important to remember that prolonged exposure to the sun and heat can be dangerous for animals. Make sure they have access to plenty of water and shaded areas if they are outdoors, and don’t leave them outside for extended periods of time. Talk to your veterinarian about signs, symptoms and how to prevent your dog from overheating.

3. Create a safe and secure space

For nervous pups or dogs that may be an escape risk, create a calm, safe environment before the fireworks start. To increase safety, keep curtains or blinds closed and your windows, doors and gates secure. You can use the TV, music, or a sound machine to drown out outside noises. Cover their kennel and gather their favorite blanket or durable toys (e.g. peanut butter-filled Kong, Nylabones, antler bone, etc.). Feeding their dinner during this time or giving them special treats like a frozen peanut butter-filled Kong, a few pieces of rotisserie chicken, or a tasty frozen treat can help create a positive association with the noises and keep them busy for a while. You can also try out a thunder jacket as a temporary assistance. 

Taking them out for a potty break before nightfall is important as well! Make sure to take them out on a leash with a properly fitted collar and harness just in case they get startled by something. Sometimes people set off fireworks before nightfall, so you always want to be prepared! 

If you are concerned your pup may have extreme anxiety, talk to your veterinarian about short-term or temporary options for occasional use. To address the issue at its root, reach out to our Beyond the Dog behavior consulting team in Kansas City. 

4. Keep all fireworks, glow sticks, and food out of reach

If your dog is joining you at a cookout or will be around while your guests are eating, we recommend keeping a close eye on them so they don’t get into something they shouldn’t. Ensure all food and holiday items (i.e. fireworks, sparklers, glow sticks, etc.) are put away or out of reach. For extra curious pups or dogs prone to chewing we recommend keeping them on a leash or in a secure area where they can’t get into trouble. Remind your guests to avoid the urge to feed your dog table scraps, especially these common foods that are toxic to dogs: grapes, chocolate, onions, avocados, and fatty or fried foods. Instead, you can have a baggie of your pup’s food or favorite snacks set aside to reward them for good behavior or if family or friends want to give them a treat!

5. Mentally and physically exercise your pup before hand

Taking your pup out for a long walk or run, hiking or playing fetch earlier in the day (when it’s cooler!) and prior to the festivities will help them burn off some energy. Later in the day when the temperatures are higher, avoid hot surfaces that can burn your dog’s paws like asphalt. If it’s too hot for you to walk barefoot, it’s too hot for your pup’s paws too! Indoor activities such as puzzle toys, snuffle mats, fetch and tug are great ways to provide mental stimulation as well! By providing your dog with physical and mental stimulation you can more than likely tire them out and help reduce their anxiety during the festivities.  

We hope these 5 safety tips help you feel prepared and confident so that you and your pup can enjoy a safe and fun-filled Fourth of July celebration!