Dogs & Fireworks: 4th of July Safety Guide
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Did you know more pets are reported missing the week of July 4th than any other week of the year? After a year of quarantine and restrictions most Americans are chomping at the bit to have a wild summer—including big celebrations for the 4th of July! But for us pet owners, we need to make sure those celebrations include precautions to keep our animals safe and calm at home.
Proof Your Dog to Fireworks
One of the best and under-utilized methods to help your dog cope with fireworks is to get them acclimated to, or “proofed” to the sound. This is especially effective with young puppies who haven’t yet been exposed to them as something scary. Start playing soft recordings of fireworks or explosions to your pup while giving them a yummy treat, while slowly increasing the volume. Continue to reward your dog for calm behaviors while they listen. If your dog starts to get frightened make sure to stop and not push them over their tolerance threshold. If your dog ever DOES show signs of fear and worry, the best way to truly comfort them is act as though it’s no big deal, not fawning over to tell them “it’s ok!” and baby them, as this will exacerbate their anxiety. Ideally, with enough practice your dog won’t even be bothered by loud noises and will nap through Independence Day just like any other night!
Don’t Bring Your Dog to Fireworks Displays Though we consider firework shows the best part of July 4th, for animals it’s often terrifying. Whether you are going to a local park or high school, or just camping out on your own lawn to watch the display, leave your dog at home. Most find the fireworks distressing, and you have a high risk of them running away in fear. So when dusk hits, make sure your dog is safe and sound indoors. Additionally, in many areas your neighbors may be starting their celebrations early by setting off some firecrackers or fireworks before (and after) the 4th. If you know this is likely to happen where you live, try to walk your dog during daylight hours and avoiding time outside at night.
Make Sure Your Pet is Contained
Even when indoors, many animals panic when they hear fireworks, so making sure your pets are properly contained on the night of July 4th is vital. This may mean crating your dog or putting them in the back bedroom. You want to avoid open windows or doors that open into the street, as well as balconies or terraces that can be a means of escape. If you’re planning to have guests who will be in and out of your home and may not be as vigilant about your pets’ whereabouts, or if you are going to be away for all or most of the day, consider putting them in a boarding kennel or with a pet sitter for the holiday.
As with most days in July, the 4th will likely take place on a hot day. If inside, make sure your animals have fresh water and air conditioning or fans to keep cool. If outdoors, your dog needs also needs access to fresh water, as well as shade and a surface to lie on that won’t get too hot.If you own a breed that is more sensitive to the heat like a Bulldog or St Bernard, make sure to watch them closely and have cooling towels or other items to prevent your pup from overheating. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion, which may include excessive panting or drooling, vomiting, a temperature over 104F, and rapid heart rate. If these occur, make sure to contact a veterinarian immediately.
How to Make Your Pet Comfortable When the sun goes down and fireworks are soon to start, put effort into making your pet comfortable. Put them in an escape proof room or crate with the shades drawn. Try getting a special new toy or treat to occupy them. Giving your dog a bully stick or stuffed Kong can give them to something to focus on when things get loud. For dogs you know are noise sensitive or already have anxiety, consider giving them some calming CBD treats, like those from our friends at Pet Releaf.
Dog TV is also the perfect distraction for helping mask the sound and comforting your pet during the holiday, and evenings leading up to it. Bark Buildings residents get 25% off all Pet Releaf products and a complimentary month of unlimited Dog TV through our perks program - so check out your resident perks or reach out to your Pet Concierge for information!
You can never be too safe when it comes to your pets. Before the 4th comes, make sure your pets are wearing a collar with a license, as well as updating their microchip information should they get loose. If you do need to take your dog out for a potty break during fireworks or in the dark, make sure they’re in secure walking gear that’s hard to escape, such as martingale collars or slip leads.
Our pets are an important part of our families, but they don’t always enjoy holidays quite the same way as we do. So for the 4th, save your pup a piece of hot dog from the barbeque, but make sure they’re in a quiet and secure place for the parties in the evening.