While most Americans love barbecuing and watching fireworks on the 4th of July, it is likely your dog does not. The loud noises, flashing lights and burning smells make this holiday traumatic for most pets. As a result, the following day is often the busiest time of year for animal shelters collecting the many pets that ran away in a desperate attempt to find safety from the chaos.

Because we all want our pups safe at home, here are some tips to keep them calm and out of the shelters:

  1. Keep Your Dog in the House: Even if your dog normally frolics outdoors, it is best to keep him inside for the night. Dogs afraid of the loud noises will jump over fences or escape their enclosed area. Consumed by fear-driven instincts, your beloved pet could end up with cuts, injuries, or running into oncoming traffic in a wild attempt to find shelter from the fireworks. His safest place is inside your home or in his crate covered in a blanket with background music on to drown out the firecrackers.
  2. Put His Collar On: Many pets run around home without proper identification, which is dangerous already but even more so on the 4th of July. Make sure your pet’s collar has your name, telephone number and address to help him get home safely if he runs away. Consider getting a microchip so that you can be contacted if he is found.
  3. Avoid ‘People Food’: During all the outdoor cookouts, it can be tempting to give your dog a little treat to join in on the fun. But many foods that are just fine for you to eat can be poisonous to your dog. Onions, avocados, grapes and salt are all hazardous. And definitely do not allow your pet to drink alcoholic beverages, either. Even beer can be toxic and cause your pet to go into a coma.
  4. Avoid Glow Sticks: We all love to get decked out in colorful glow-in-the-dark bracelets, necklaces, and headbands. You may think it’s cute to decorate your pup in glowing jewelry as well, but these little plastic pieces can cause your pet a lot of tummy aches and blockage if ingested.
  5. Only Use ‘Dog Specific’ Products: It can get buggy outside, but spraying your pooch with human bug spray can be toxic. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned by either food, sunscreen, bug spray, or eating something he wasn’t supposed to, watch for drooling, vomiting, and excessive thirst and take him to the vet ASAP!
  6. Keep Him Cool: It is the hottest time of the year and your pet can overheat just like humans can. Be sure to keep him hydrated, in the shade and watch for signs of heatstroke. You can read more about how to keep your pup cool here.

By following these tips and using common sense, you and your pet can both enjoy this exciting holiday. When in doubt, just leave him at home. We promise he’ll be safer and much happier!