July 2, 2009
I remember when I was very young going to Echo Park every 4th of July for the fireworks show. I also recall that although the food was yummy, and being with friends and family were great, there were times I was nervous around the explosions. Although my parents were very cautious, keeping me and my brother safe, I still found the louder explosions somewhat scary.
As as abstract-thinking human, I began to understand the whole concept of this annual summertime holiday. But, as a certified professional dog trainer, and dedicated dog mom, it’s my priority to keep inquisitive canines safe and out of harm’s way.
I’m sure you’re planning on protecting your pets as well, but we here at IC HQ’s would like to pass along a few safety tips for keeping dogs (and other pets) safe this holiday:
Manage your environment!
If you’re having a party or going to be bringing your dog to a party, it might be best to have them confined to a specific out-of-harms-way area with proper enrichment such as chew bones or a stuffed food toy. Or, keep them tethered to you with a leash.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if something is within reach (including jumping up or climbing on tables to get it), it’s going to be investigated! Please keep any and all food items out of your pet’s reach. This includes closing the barbecue cover. Jumping up on a hot grill isn’t very smart, but some dogs haven’t learned that yet – like when kids touch a hot stove.
Make sure that BBQ items, including lighter fluid, charcoal, matches, and lighters are placed in areas away from your dog’s sniffing reach. Please be aware of where they are placed, and to keep them out of reach from the top dog CSI’s.
Offer your dog an appropriate canine-cocktail — fresh water — while keeping alcoholic beverages out of sight and smell. Most dogs turn their nose up to alcoholic beverages, but there are some who find certain smells enticing. Alcohol can be poisonous to dogs so please keep all beverage containers in a safe place, away from inquisitive canines.
Decorative items such as candles, tiki torches, oil lamps, and other decorative products like this can be fun to investigate. Unfortunately, they can cause harm if they fall over on dogs, or are eaten. So again, if your dog is running around the house, keep these items in a safe place or put them away altogether.
Fireworks: first and foremost, keep them away from all pets! Exposure can cause burns and other injuries. Plus they’re very scary to most animals. And, unless they’re being used in an approved area, it’s often illegal to set them off.
Order off their usual menu!
Although some dogs have a rock-gut stomach, many do not. Please make sure you stick with your dog’s regular diet. And, ask all of the other humans to refrain from handing out snacks, no matter how much your dog works for it. Some foods aren’t good for dogs, so make sure that your friends and family are aware of what your dog (or other pet) can or cannot eat. (Check out the ASPCA’s list of people foods your dog should avoid). You can always post a reminder sign in plain view for everyone to see.
To play it safe:
- Keep all pets inside your home where it is safe. Explosions and weird smells can be scary!
- ID and License: make sure your dog (and kitties too) are wearing a collar with license and ID tag. Just in case he or she takes off, the authorities will have a better chance of finding them.
- Stay home or hire a pet sitter: leave your dog at home. Fireworks shows are fun for us humans, but for many dogs, and other non-human animals, they’re too overwhelming. If you aren’t able to stay home with them, consider hiring a professional pet sitter or have a friend come over to hang out and keep your pets comfortable.
- Meds: if the anxiety is too much for your pet to handle, contact your veterinarian about the various medication options for helping to reduce noise phobia anxiety.
Be your own search engine!
- Keep your vet’s phone number and other contact information handy, including address and directions to get there. Also, make sure they’re open. If not, know where your nearest emergency vet clinic is.
- Pet Emergency Clinic: Know in advance where the nearest 24-hour pet emergency clinic is and the fastest way to get there. This is doubly important if you are traveling with your dog and are unfamiliar with the area you’re visiting.
- Animal Poison Control: If your dog or cat ingests something they shouldn’t have, you can contact the animal poison control center 24/7
The 4th of July should be about honoring our independence and all of those who have helped us maintain our freedom and independence. Whether you’re celebrating with friends, family, and barbecues, walking in a parade, or watching the local fireworks show, please make sure you take those extra steps in keeping your pets safe so you can enjoy celebrating more holidays together!
From all of us at IC HQ’s, we will you a joyous — and safe — celebration!
*Updated July 2017