July 4th is a great holiday for dogs who love to snack on hot dogs, but there are a few hazards to be aware of before and during the fireworks display for all kinds of pets.
This Bivvy blog post will provide advice for how to keep your pet healthy at the neighborhood barbeque, near the campfire, and during the hours when fireworks are lighting up the night sky. Keep reading for budget-friendly strategies to support pets that have trouble coping with loud noises.
If you don’t already, make sure you have the number of a local veterinarian in your phone just in case. Know how you’ll access veterinary care before your pet has an emergency and you’ll be ready to help you get them back to health sooner. You should also make sure your pet’s health insurance is current and store your plan information in an easy-to-access location. Your dog insurance or cat insurance not only offers protection to your furry friend, but also to your wallet in case of the unexpected accident or illness.
As in any group setting where there are strangers, it’s best to keep your dog on a leash if there’s a campfire at your July 4th celebration. Sparks can jump and logs can shift. You’ll want to make sure your dog can’t get too close to the fire or those playing nearby.
When it comes to cuisine, s’mores may look delicious to your canine friend, but don’t let them try their first marshmallow this year. Monitor and limit their intake of human food throughout the day. Of course, different dogs have different diets, but processed hamburger buns may upset your pup's stomach and chocolate bars are downright dangerous.
Maintain ample space between your dog and the food table for everyone’s health and safety.
Even if your dog loves a crowd, it can be nerve-wracking for them to attend a parade. Loud music, cheering, and motorcycle engines provide a lot of distractions, especially for those with sensitive ears.
To make sure you both have a good day:
-Keep your friend on a leash at all times. Even if your dog is well-behaved or in a fenced area, it’s a good idea to keep them by your side so you don’t lose track of them.
-Train one eye on any approaching dogs or kids. Try to head off any surprises before your dog reacts to them. A stranger who doesn’t know what to do around someone’s dog may not get the same greeting as a friend.
-Bring water and a portable bowl to refresh your dog. Don’t forget to give your dog plenty of water, food, and breaks from the crowd. If you’re going to be out together for the whole day, be sure to lead your dog away for short walks or downtime.
Don’t forget that not everyone is comfortable around animals, and unfortunately, dogs aren’t always welcome in a crowd. Even though your dog feels like part of your family, they may be scary to someone who’s had a bad experience with dogs in the past.
Be receptive to the needs of people around you, and remember that outside your home, your dog may be a trigger for someone’s allergies or fears. If they ask for space or for you to remove your dog from the area, do everything you can to respect their needs.
When it’s time for the fireworks display, it’s probably best for your dog to stay at home. If you know that your dog has trouble with noise, send someone to accompany them. Even if your pet chooses not to socialize with their caretaker at home, they’ll feel safer knowing someone’s there.
Before the fireworks begin:
-Make sure your cat or dog are safely inside and that all the windows and shades are drawn closed.
-Find the room in the house with the least noise from the street and take shelter there. Internal rooms like bathrooms and basements are good.
-Set up an easily accessible water bowl in case they get thirsty.
-Prepare the space to make them feel at ease. Your cat may want to have a few safe spaces to go. Bring along a couple of boxes or a covered litter box to give them options. Your dog may be soothed by the weight of an appropriate compression jacket or blanket. If you can’t spring for a compression jackets or blanket, a regular blanket will help.
Dogs and cats may enjoy being swaddled in a blanket or towel and being held during the noise. However they react, talk to your pet in soothing tones to let them know you’re there and that they’re safe.
It might be easy to get distracted, but your pet’s health and comfort is important. When you make plans to celebrate the holiday, make sure you decide in advance how you’ll include or support your pet throughout the day.
It’s also important to remember that other animals will be spooked by the explosions that evening. Even after the parade is over and the backyard barbecue is packed up for the night, be sure to keep your dog on leash and your cat indoors. One scared skunk will ruin everyone’s holiday (and a few loads of laundry).