Four Ways to Safeguard Your Dog This July 4th
By Bonnie Sweebe
1) Burns: A cookout is a great way to celebrate family and friends–including furry ones. Who does not drool over sizzling hot dogs, chicken, or hamburgers? Unfortunately, the smell of food naturally draws noses and muzzles grill-side and that can be dangerous. Excited dogs may jump to snatch food items off the grill, burning their muzzle, nose or paws. Hair can also ignite. Supervise your pet. Do not allow pets near the grilling area.
2) Sparklers: Glittery sparklers are fascinating to humans and to some dogs. But did you know that a hot sparkler can reach temperatures ten times that of boiling water? Not only are they hazardous to touch, but hot ash and metal fragments can break off, flying onto hair and skin and into eyes. As a safety precaution, keep dogs away from sparklers and firework displays. On the morning after festivities, be on the lookout for firecracker remnants. Handle with care and discard appropriately. If you do not find them, your dog will.
3) Blasts and Booms: For some dogs, loud sudden blasts from firework displays are unnerving and panic-stricken dogs will do anything to escape. Some dogs dig at drywall. Some will burst through screened doors. Some will make a run for it. During the July 4th weekend, there is an alarming increase in the number of dogs ending up in shelters. Make sure your dog is not one of them. Plan ahead by recognizing a safe spot, the place where your furry pal goes to relax. For extra comfort, place the dog bed or blanket nearby the safe spot. To ease anxiety, some dogs respond well to television white noise. However, do not try to cancel the blast of fireworks by raising television volume. Dogs have sensitive hearing. Keep volume at a normal yet comfortable level.
4) Explosion Meltdowns: When a firework suddenly explodes startling your dog, everything is not fine. Telling your dog otherwise is foolish. In a recent article in USA Today, Patty Khuly, a small animal veterinarian in Miami, Florida says a severe thunderstorm is no time to tell your dog to buck up and get strong. These fears are irrational. Instead of telling Fido to get a grip, leave Fido at home and create the most comfortable atmosphere possible.
For anxious dogs and sleep-deprived humans, the booming July 4th weekend never ends. In as much as possible, be there to support, enjoy and play with your pet.
Bonnie Sweebe is a dog lover, dog owner, dog advocate, and rescue and service dog volunteer and service dog puppy raiser. She is also the owner of WelcomePup.com, an online dog gift delivery company.