Fourth of July staples like barbecues, fireworks and gathering with family and friends are lots of fun for us, but each of them presents hazards for our dogs. Here are a few tips for making your pooch comfortable and safe this Fourth of July:
Fireworks and pets don’t mix: The loud booms and pops from fireworks can be very traumatic for our dogs. Our animal control officers always brace for July 4 and 5 because we know that there will be a significant number of frightened, lost animals coming through our doors. If you are heading out to enjoy the fireworks, leave your dog at home and inside the house – preferably in a quiet room without windows. Create a special area in your home where your dog feels safe, such as a crate or kennel. Ambient noise can help comfort your dog and drown out the noise, so consider leaving on DOGTV or the radio to keep them company.
Microchip and proper ID: If there is one piece of advice that I hope you take to heart, it’s to have your dog microchipped. It may not prevent him or her from getting out, but it will ensure that they are returned home quickly if lost. We provide microchipping here at the Escondido Humane Society for $35, and other shelters provide the service as well. It’s also important to have proper identification on your dog at all times. Be sure to include your phone number and address on the tag.
Should your dog get out, check your local animal shelters. Local residents in the cities of Escondido, San Marcos and Poway should contact the Escondido Humane Society at (760) 888-BARK to see if your pet is at the shelter. The San Diego Humane Society provides Animal Control services for the cities of Oceanside and Vista; the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services provides Animal Control services for the unincorporated areas of San Diego County and the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee and Solana Beach.
No people food allowed: If you and your dog are invited to a barbecue, resist the temptation to share table food with your pooch. Some backyard barbecue fare is dangerous for our four-legged friends, including avocados, chocolate, grapes and onions. Let your family and friends know not to share food with your dog and make sure they comply. Alcohol is also dangerous and needs to be off limits to your dog, so beware of any unattended drinks.
Protect your pet from the heat and sun: If recent temperatures are any indication, it’s shaping up to be a toasty Fourth of July. Celebrating all day in the sun can take its toll on your furry friend, so be sure your dog has access to plenty of water and shade. Hot asphalt is also a danger, as it can burn the bottom of your dog’s paws and cause painful blisters. Don’t forget the sunscreen! The sun’s rays can penetrate a fur coat, and animals with lighter coats are even more vulnerable. Pay particular attention to their ears, nose and lips. For even more information on pet safety during the Fourth of July, read these tips from the ASPCA.
With some preparation and planning ahead, you and your four-legged family members can enjoy the holiday stress-free. Happy Fourth of July to you and your dogs!