Making the Fourth Festive for Fido

There’s little doubt that the 4th of July is one of our nation’s favorite holidays. Many of us look forward to it all year; getting together with family and friends, throwing some burgers on the grill, sipping a refreshing lemonade and then settling in for the fireworks. But as fun as it can be for us humans, it can be equally as stressful and frightening for our four-legged friends. All those people and loud noises can send even the calmest dog into a panic. And pups who are allowed to overindulge can become very ill. Does that mean that Fido can’t join in the fun? Of course not! All it takes is a little planning and a few precautions.

  1. Guard the Grill
    Ahhh…who can resist those enticing aromas wafting off the grill? As irresistible as it smells to us, just imagine how much better it smells to a dog. Not surprisingly, this can lead to trouble! To avoid accidental burns, keep dogs – especially jumpers and counter surfers – far away from the cooking area, and never place small Hibachi-style grills on the ground.
  2. Plan Your Picnic
    Some typical BBQ foods such as meat, ribs, chocolate, corn on the cob, and onions can be harmful to dogs if ingested. Some foods are toxic to canines and others can cause painful, sometimes life-threatening illnesses such as pancreatitis.Keep all picnic foods out of your dog’s reach and ask guests not to feed him. Of course, those big, brown eyes can prove to be irresistible, so think about providing a doggie-specific buffet – complete with treats – that your pup is allowed to be fed from.
  3. Keep Them Cool
    For most of the country, July is one of the hottest months of the year. If you plan on spending the day outdoors, keep an eye on your dog to make sure he doesn’t become overheated.For pups who like to swim, provide a kiddie pool or turn on a single sprinkler. Make sure he has plenty of shade and that his bowl is filled with fresh, cool water. And of course, never leave him in a car, even with the windows rolled down.
  4. Furry Fun
    If your dog is the social type who loves being around people, set up some games and activities that he can enjoy with your guests. See who can throw the tennis ball the farthest. Or play “hide and seek” by having someone pick a hiding place and then call or whistle to your dog. Call time out if your dog becomes agitated or tired. And make sure everyone is rewarded with something fun for their efforts!
  5. Fido and Fireworks Don’t Mix
    It’s the rare dog who is totally unconcerned by the loud bangs and sudden flashes of a fireworks display. Although it might be tempting to take your dog along – after all, they’re family! – it’s best to leave them at home. Dogs who become frightened can break free, run away and become lost.Opt for a space in your house, rather than your yard, to prevent them from jumping the fence or digging a hole underneath in an attempt to escape. Depending on your dog, you may want to confine them to one small room in the innermost part of your home. Provide them with comfortable bedding, plenty of water and their favorite toys, and leave soothing music or the TV playing to drown out the sound of fireworks.

We wish you all a fun, safe and happy 4th of July!!