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More dogs go missing on Independence Day than any other day of the year. This is likely due to three things: loud, scary shaky-booms, increased outdoor time and activities for your family (including dogs), and loud, scary shaky-booms. The loud noise of fireworks can frighten even the most stable and calm dogs, not to mention dogs who are already a little skittish to begin with. In addition, traditional Independence Day festivities contain hidden hazards that can be harmful to your pet. Be sure to take a few precautions to keep your pup safe and secure this weekend.
Dogs spend at least 70% of their lives just waiting for humans to drop food from the grill (don’t Google that statistic, we completely made it up, but it’s probably pretty accurate). Traditional Independence Day cookout food like hamburgers and hot dogs are particularly appealing to your canine companion. Though it can be tempting to let your dog take part in the culinary experience of the day, limit the amount of human food you “drop” for your dog, and keep an eye on unattended food that your pup may try to sneak off the table. Onions, a hamburger dressing staple, are particularly toxic to dogs and can cause intense illness. Even relatively safe foods like grilled burgers or chicken can lead to an upset tummy for your pup when combined with a long day of vigorous activity in warm weather and the anxiety of loud noises, which leads us to. . .
Dogs are universally terrified of thunder, fireworks, and other loud noises. Now, I read somewhere that if your children are scared of something, you should explain to them how that thing works, and understanding the hows and whys helps ease their anxiety. I’ve tried to explain to my neurotic pup how lightning and thunder work so many times,but she’s just not getting it. Same with fireworks. Many dogs who disappear on Independence Day run away when the fireworks begin. Make sure your dog is leashed and secured to you or a sturdy pole, tree, or other heavy object before the fireworks begin. Better yet, if you’re enjoying a DIY fireworks show at home, make sure your pup is inside and crated with his favorite blanket and a tasty treat to minimize his anxiety. Be sure to keep proper identification on your dog’s collar at all times, and keep her microchip information up-to-date for easy identification if needed. If you’re away from home with no safe place to confine your dog, consider taking along a Thundershirt and/or anxiety medication prescribed by your vet.
Unless it is specifically made for dogs, do not use insect repellent sprays or even sunscreen sprays or creams on pets. Many of these items contain ingredients that are toxic to animals if licked off or absorbed through the skin. DEET, a common ingredient in insect repellents, is especially poisonous and can cause vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and drooling. Use insect repellents specifically formulated for pets, or place citronella candles around the perimeter of your yard or area where you’ll be celebrating.
Keep beer and other alcoholic drinks away from your pup. Dogs drink very quickly and can become dangerously intoxicated if they indulge in a leftover red solo cup of beer. Intoxicated dogs can lapse into a coma or even die from respiratory failure. Make sure all alcoholic drinks are stored safely out of pup’s reach.
Remember, always err on the side of caution during any holiday festivities. The easiest way to keep your pet safe this weekend is to keep him confined or restrained. Be mindful of these few tips to enjoy a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend!