Keep Your Pup Safe, Healthy and Happy This 4th of July

With all the lights, colors, sounds, smells and tastes, the 4th of July can be a fun time for humans, but it can be scary and even dangerous for our four-legged friends. Dogs don’t understand the concept of Independence Day, and they can get into some bad situations as a result. So we thought we’d put together some tips to help your pal stay safe and comfortable during the 4th of July celebrations this year. Here are some things to consider.   


  • Keep your dog indoors. Between the heat of the month and the noise of fireworks, it’s best to keep your dog inside for the holiday. Many pets escape on the 4th of July when a firecracker goes off or the boom from a mortar sends them running for safety.
  • Keep alcoholic drinks out of your dog’s reach. Lots of folks like to imbibe in a 4th of July beer or a red, white and blue cocktail, but make sure you keep the spirits out of your dog’s reach. Alcohol has the potential to poison pets. If your dog drinks alcohol, he or she could become intoxicated and weak. Your dog could even go into a coma or respiratory failure in severe cases.
  • Keep matches, lighters, lighter fluid and other hazardous materials up away from your dog. All of these items contain hazardous chemicals that could cause a variety of dangerous and painful symptoms if your dog ingests or has skin contact with them. Just like childproofing your home, it’s important to keep these things up high to dog proof and keep your animals safe.
  • Don’t feed your dog human food. Even though your dog may be drooling at the sight of all the cookout delicacies, stick to your dog’s normal diet. A major change in diet, even if it’s just for one meal, can wreak havoc on a dog’s digestive system. Table scraps can give your dog indigestion and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. Remember that some foods that are harmless to us can poison a dog, such as coffee, chocolate, avocado, grapes, onions, salt, yeast dough and raisins.
  • Do not apply human sunscreens or bug repellents to your dog. Sunscreen and bug repellent made for us could be toxic to animals. Dogs like to lick substances off their body, and ingesting sunscreen could cause vomiting, diarrhea, excess drooling, thirst and lethargy.
  • Leave dogs at home when you go out to 4th of July festivities. Loud and crowded activities are fun for us but can be very stressful for our dogs. It’s best to leave your dog at home, where he or she is safe and won’t be tempted to run away.
  • Don’t use fireworks around your dog. Lit fireworks can cause serious burns and trauma to your dog. Chewing unlit fireworks could be toxic because many contain chemicals like arsenic and potassium nitrate.
  • Don’t let your dog play with or wear glow jewelry or glow sticks. The glowing material in these items isn’t highly toxic, but it could still give your dog gastrointestinal distress. The plastic could also become lodged in your dog’s intestines and create a blockage which could potentially require surgery.
  • Watch out the day after the celebration! When outside, your dog may try to pick up or eat spent fireworks and rubbish from the festivities that have been left on the street from neighborhood celebrations. 


While some of these tips might seem like no brainers, you would be surprised how easy it is for a dog to get hold of something dangerous or unhealthy, especially when there’s a party going on and everyone is distracted. Please, be careful this 4th of July! Let July 5 roll in with everyone – including your dog – happy and healthy. 

-Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, PMCT, has taken her varied teaching experiences and applied them to helping owners understand and train their beloved four-legged family members. She has more than four years’ experience leading group dog training classes at Best Paw Forward in Hartland, WI, and opened Head of the Class Dog Training LLC in Winchester, VA in 2012, where she conducts group classes and private lessons, as well as helps owners to modify their dogs' problem behaviors.

Lisa earned her CPDT-KA in 2012, is a 2015 graduate of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy and is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer.

She has 4 registered therapy dogs and is a Pet Partner Therapy Team Evaluator and a member of HOPE AACR. As a former middle school teacher, she works well with families and children and does school presentations on various dog related topics. 

SM

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