Fourth of July Safety for Our Four-Legged Friends

| Erin Tursam

Independence Day is a day to celebrate America! Fireworks and barbeques can be overwhelming for our pups though. Find out how to keep them safe while you celebrate!


Fourth of July. Time to celebrate our nation’s independence! To ensure a fun day for the whole family, take these precautions and even our four-legged friends can enjoy this special holiday. 

The Hidden Truth

It is well-known within the animal caretaker community that the Fourth of July holiday is the busiest day of their year at vet offices and shelters. Vet clinics are flooded with emergencies and shelters get inundated with lost and missing pets. Learn what you can do to ensure you stay far away from vet office and shelters this holiday.

Firework Safety

More dogs get loose and end up in a shelter on Fourth of July than any other holiday Fireworks are often to blame for these escapes. The loud booms and bright sparks of fireworks are scary to most dogs but every dog reacts differently. Some hide, some want comfort, some go a little crazy.

Very fearful dogs have been known to destroy the house and inflict injury upon themselves in the process. Pet owners may think that keeping their fearful dog outside would be safer than inside however different risks exist. Dogs have been known to escape even a fenced in yard either by climbing, digging or pushing the gate in.

Best to Stay Inside

Keeping your pet inside this Fourth of July is going to be the best choice. Ensuring your pup has a safe comfy place to retreat to can help ease nerves. Set up a familiar dog bed, crate or even sofa before leaving the house.

Due to their wolf-like ancestry, dogs will often gravitate to cave-like locations when they feel threatened—closets, bathrooms, under tables are common locations. Keep these areas clear in the event they choose to use it as their safe place.

You can also close blinds and dim lights to replicate that cave-like feel in the house. Ambient noise like a noise maker, radio or TV can serve as a good soothing mechanism and distract them from outdoor festivities. (If choosing to leave a TV or radio on, make sure you choose calming, soothing channels to evoke a peaceful feeling.)

Outdoor Barbecue Hazards

You might be inclined to bring your little buddy along for the holiday festivities, however a lot of dangers lurk around at outdoor barbecues. Large volumes of people and lack of monitoring increase the risk of mishaps occurring. Some common health dangers for dogs at barbecues include:

  • Eating large amounts of food, especially fatty foods, can not only cause vomiting or diarrhea but can lead to pancreatitis which is a medical emergency.

  • Ingesting chicken bones or rib bones can lead to choking or a GI foreign body

  • Fire pits and grills pose a risk for burns.

  • Dogs will often try to lick grease from deep dryers and ingest whatever the grease falls on whether that be rocks, mulch or gravel.

  • Ingesting fireworks could lead to poisoning or even death.

  • Getting into trash can lead to a variety of problems including vomiting, diarrhea, choking or foreign body.

  • Alcoholic beverages are also hazardous to dogs and could cause stomach upset, disorientation or even death in large quantities.

Dog Tag IDs and Microchips

As a precaution, ensure your dog is wearing a collar with an updated ID tag that includes your dog’s name, your name and phone number. City and state is helpful too if possible. If your dog is microchipped, ensure that the microchip information is accurate and up-to-date. (This should be done regularly regardless of holidays.) If your dog is not microchipped, it might be a good idea to look into it. For a relatively low cost, you can guarantee your dog can be identified and you will be notified. AKC Reunite is one such company who specializes in microchipping and also provides other great services to keep your dog safe.

Get Them Tired!

Be proactive and get your pooch tired early in the day. A long walk, trip to the dog park or cool swim serve as good ways to burn off some extra energy and lessen anxiety, hopefully allowing him or her to rest and relax peacefully while you are enjoying the festivities.

Keep Them Busy

Some dogs find chewing a bone relaxing or playing with their favorite toy. Ensure that whatever treat or toy you choose is familiar to them and safe especially since they will not be supervised for an extended period of time. 

Celebrate at Home

If you know your dog is fearful of loud noises and fireworks or has already had a bad experience, there is nothing wrong with staying home and celebrating with close friends and family. Your pup will appreciate the company and the comfort that only you can provide.

Safety Check

Even after the festivities have ended, dangers still exist. Inspect your yard and streets for firework debris, trash or food to ensure your pup doesn’t get into anything hazardous.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Erin Tursam

Erin Tursam comes to AKC Pet Insurance with a background in veterinary medicine. As the Marketing Manager at PetPartners, she uses her knowledge and experience to help pet owners better understand the health needs of their pets and how pet insurance can help keep them happy and healthy. Erin lives in Apex, NC and has a 13-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and 7-year-old Doberman.


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