It's the season of picnics, barbeques, and, of course, fireworks.
Unfortunately, it's also a time of extreme stress for man's best friend.
Spending the Fourth of July with dogs can be just as much fun for your dog as it is for you if you take steps to keep your dog happy, healthy, and safe. Here's how you can take care of your four-legged family members this summer.
Summer is the season for gathering around the grill for a good barbeque and a tall glass of lemonade.
Your dog is right there with you, begging like a fiend. And if they're wandering a backyard party, they'll take every opportunity to steal food. It smells good, can you blame them?
But you have to remember that some human foods are toxic (or just unhealthy) for pets to consume. Peanut butter, corn (off the cob), and even quinoa can be good for dogs in small quantities.
Dogs can each cheese and ice cream in small quantities, but some dogs are lactose intolerant, so it's best to avoid this. Onions, leeks, chives, and garlic are off the table, but most forms of fish are fine, as is coconut (as long as your dog doesn't eat the hairy exterior).
Fireworks, Firecrackers, and Thunderstorms
The biggest concern during Fourth of July festivities is easily fireworks, but firecrackers and thunderstorms are just as commonplace in the summertime.
It might not seem like a big deal to you, but you have to remember that dogs have far better hearing than humans. They excel in high-pitched sounds. Where humans can only hear up to 20,000 Hertz, dogs can hear as high as 65,000 Hertz. They can also hear sounds that aren't loud enough for human perception.
So when you hear fireworks, remember that for your dog, that sound is twice as loud. Also, there's no way to make your dog understand that the exploding fire in the sky isn't going to hurt you.
If you plan on going to a fireworks show, be kind to your dog and leave them at home. Some dogs are accustomed to fireworks, but there's no reason to give your dog unnecessary anxiety.
Make sure your dog is in an escape-proof, safe crate where he can't hurt himself. Some dogs can get quite destructive when they're afraid, digging, chewing on things (including themselves) or just trying to run away from the sound.
If you haven't already, get your dog a thunder vest. It's a weighted vest you can put on your dog during storms (or, in this case, fireworks) to help them stay calm. If you don't have a vest, a fitted t-shirt can work.
But if your dog has a serious anxiety problem, sometimes the most comforting thing is to have their human home with them. Remember, it's a smart decision to stay home and keep your dog safe, or reach out to your vet before the big day to get their advice.
Fourth of July with Dogs Can Be Fun
If you take the right steps, Fourth of July with dogs can be a ton of fun. Just plan ahead for the hazards your dog might meet before the festivities commence.
And if you need more tips to keep your dog happy and healthy, check out our blog for more posts, like this post on how to be a more responsible pet owner during National Pet Week.
Disclaimer: This post is not intended to encourage treatment or diagnosis of any animal medical condition. For medical advice, contact your veterinarian.