White french bulldog sitting in chair wearing American flag bowtie

Safety Tips for Dogs This 4th of July

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The 4th of July is almost here! For us, it's a day of celebration, festive foods, and fireworks. For dogs, it can be a time of celebration, staring at festive foods, and apocalyptic lights and sky explosions.

At Lavengel, we believe in creating safe and enjoyable experiences for everyone in the family, including our barking besties, so here is a nice little guide to ensure that your dog has just as great of a 4th as you do!

Red, white, and blue fireworks exploding in the night sky

Top 5 Dangers to Dogs on the 4th of July and Their Solutions

1. Fireworks

The loud noises and bright flashes are often the best part of the night for us, but they can cause extreme anxiety and fear in our dogs, leading to potential escape attempts or injury. After all, it's not often the sky randomly and loudly explodes.

Solutions

  • Create a safe, quiet space for your dog indoors with familiar items.
  • Use calming aids like anxiety wraps or consult your vet for medications.
  • Play soothing music to drown out the noise.
  • Dogs can "feed off" of our emotional highs and lows. So, stay calm yourself to reassure your pet.

2. Toxic Foods

Many 4th of July foods are staples for us, but they can actually be quite harmful to dogs, including chocolate, grapes, onions, and foods containing xylitol - a common artificial sweetener.

Solutions

  • Educate guests about harmful foods, and ensure they don't feed your dog table scraps.
  • Keep toxic foods out of reach.
  • Provide safe alternatives like dog-friendly treats.
  • There are also tons of great festive foods they can enjoy. See further down this post for some great alternatives.

Family and white dog enjoying outdoor picnic in summertime

3. Heatstroke

The 4th of July is typically spent outside, and with summer in full swing, outdoor celebrations can lead to overheating and dehydration in our dogs.

Solutions

  • Ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water and shaded areas.
  • During summer days in general, limit exercise during the hottest parts of the day. Opt for the mornings or evenings for walks.
  • Use cooling mats or vests to provide an extra layer of cooling.
  • You might consider keeping a kiddie pool outside for your dog to enjoy (under supervision).
  • Keep those tootsies from getting toasted. You would be amazed at how hot concrete and other surfaces will get in the summer sun. Check out these tips for protecting your pup's paws from the heat.
  • Knowledge is a key to being prepared for any emergency. We've also got advice on identifying and responding to a canine heatstroke.

4. Alcohol

Let’s be honest, 99% of 4th of July festivities include consuming and/or being around the great social lubricant known as alcohol. Naturally, if your dog sees you enjoying any food or drink, there's a good chance they'll want to enjoy some, too.

Adult beverages left unattended can be dangerous if ingested by dogs, potentially causing poisoning. No pet parent wants to have to take a trip to the emergency animal hospital, especially on a holiday.

Solutions

  • Keep alcoholic drinks out of reach, and don’t leave them unattended.
  • Inform guests about the dangers of alcohol for dogs.
  • Provide pet-safe drink options, like water, water, and water.
  • Bonus tip: If you're feeling festive, you can try infusing their water with dog-friendly fruit. Remember to beware the artificial sweetener xylitol.
  • Again, knowing what to in an emergency can save time and frantic Google searching, so we've got some advice on pet poison symptoms and prevention.

5. Escape and Lost Pets

The 4th of July is when more dogs and other pets go missing than any other time of year. The combination of bright lights, loud noises (fireworks, firecrackers, sparklers, music, etc.) and open doors or gates can lead to many dogs running for their lives. Depending on the music being played, we may not blame them.

Solutions

  • Secure all doors, gates, and fences to prevent escapes.
  • Ensure your dog wears a collar with up-to-date ID tags.
  • Consider having your dog microchipped. It will save an immense amount of stress if they venture out unexpectedly.
  • Supervise your dog closely during peak times when fireworks are likely to be set off.
  • As we mentioned earlier, it may be best to keep them inside in a cozy, calming, and secure place.

Watermelon slices cut into star shapes and blueberries in white dish

Healthy and Refreshing Foods for Dogs

Instead of sharing potentially harmful human snacks, consider these dog-friendly treats to keep your pet cool, healthy, and sufficiently bribed, like these simple dog popsicle recipes.

Frozen Dog Popsicles

Dog-safe ingredients like peanut butter, yogurt, and fruit make for great, easily freezable, and nutritious snacks.

Watermelon

Serve in small, seedless pieces. It's hydrating, low in calories, and a 4th of July favorite!

Carrots

Crunchy and nutritious, they make a great summer-time snack.

Apple Slices

Remove the seeds and core, and you have a refreshing, fiber-rich treat.

Blueberries

Packed with antioxidants and perfect for a low-calorie snack - fits the color theme, too!

Plain Hot Dog Slices

Every good dog deserves a good hot dog. As long as your dog doesn't have beef or pork allergies, you can share plain (no condiments or seasoning) hot dog slices with the four-legged grill supervisors. We do emphasize "slices" because some dogs eat like vacuum cleaners, and they're less likely to choke or have problems with smaller pieces.

Black American bully dog prepares to jump into pool wearing life jacket

Additional Safety Tips for the 4th of July

BBQ and Grill Safety

Keep dogs away from the grill and any cooking areas to prevent burns or ingestion of harmful foods or materials like grill brushes made with brass or steel. It’s... also a good idea to keep these away from kids as well.

Glow Sticks and Decorations

Keep glow sticks, sparklers, and other decorations ("Ooooh! Shiny new chew toy!") out of reach as they can be toxic or cause blockages if ingested. Despite what your dog may suspect, glow sticks do not taste like sugar and magic - but like a trip to the vet's office.

Life Jackets

If your 4th of July takes place on or near the water, we highly suggest life jackets for your pup, especially those that are not strong swimmers or those that are built like potatoes.

Pet-Friendly Sunscreen

If your dog has a short coat or light-colored fur, consider using pet-safe sunscreen to protect against sunburn, especially if plenty of shade is not available.

Golden retriever wearing USA flag bandanna lies in grass at park

Final 4th Thoughts

The 4th of July can (and should be) a great time for us and our dogs. A few precautionary steps will ensure it’s safe and less stressful for all.

By avoiding toxic foods, offering healthy treats, and taking precautions during fireworks, you can help your dog enjoy the holiday just as much as you do.

For more tips on keeping your dog happy and healthy, check out our section on Canine Care.

Those interested in learning about identifying, treating, and preventing canine skin issues can snoop around our Canine Skin Issues Library. To brush up on canine first aid, and built your own at-home or travel first aid, kit, hop on over to our Dog First Aid "Facility".

Happy 4th of July from all of us at Lavengel!

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