7 Tips to Prepare Your Pup for 4th of July

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on June 25th, 2024

4th of July is right around the corner, which means that you might already be worrying about how your dog will react to outdoor BBQs, crowded parades, and of course, the dreaded firework show.

In this article, we’ll offer some helpful tips to make this Independence Day as calm as possible for your pooch!

Up the exercise
Providing your dog with more exercise during moments of stress can go a long way in keeping them calm and happy. But, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Watch the heat. With summer here, it’s time to keep an eye on the temperatures outside when planning out your daily doggy exercise. On very warm days, try to head out early in the morning or choose activities in areas with plenty of shade or water to cool off.
  • Recovery is just as important as exercise. Some dog owners find that when they take their dog out for extra exercise, their pup becomes more prone to overstimulation. This could be a sign that they’re not getting enough rest after exercise sessions. Make sure that they have a cool, quiet place to wind down after a game of fetch or long hike.
  • Exercise is only one part of the equation. While exercise can lower cortisol levels and boost feel-good chemicals in your dog’s brain, it’s only one factor in boosting your dog’s mental wellness this 4th of July. Make sure to include a few of the other tips on this list for a more holistic approach.

Ease your dog into public places
Now that the weather is beautiful, more people are going to be out exploring hiking trails, heading to the beach, and milling around in downtowns all over the country. This is a great opportunity to expose your dog to more crowded spaces if you’re planning on bringing them along for any 4th of July parades or BBQs!

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Choose a shaded area a little ways away from very crowded spaces to be your “home base”
  • Stay in this area as long as your dog is calm and comfortable, offering them treats and verbal praise
  • Venture into more crowded areas, continuing to provide your dog with treats for staying calm and walking at your side
  • When your dog starts to get overwhelmed, walk back to your home base to reset and try again when they’re calm.

Ideally, this process is done over a long period of time so that your dog is exposed to more crowded spaces in stages. So, if you have a reactive or very nervous dog, make sure that you set reasonable expectations for this upcoming Independence Day. In other words, it may not be enough time for your dog to become fully comfortable in crowds this year.

Leave your pet with a sitter
If you will be leaving your pup at home for your 4th of July activities, consider hiring a pet sitter while you’re away. The best case scenario would be to hire someone your dog already knows, but anyone with dog experience is a good option.

While we tend to talk about dogs’ reactions to fireworks, the truth is that cats and other pets are also sensitive to the noise! Your other pets would also benefit from a pet sitter if they’ll be home alone.

Make sure that your dog’s tags are up-to-date
According to the American Kennel Club, dogs are more likely to go missing during the 4th of July holiday than at any other time of the year. Even dogs who are normally homebodies can sometimes get spooked enough to jump the fence in search of a safe place to hide.

In addition to keeping your dog safely enclosed at home, it’s also a good idea to make sure that their collar tags have the most updated information. Microchipping can also increase your chances of being reunited with your dog if they go missing.

Have an always-on-leash policy
Even if your dog is reliable off-leash, it’s not a bad idea to keep them on one during this holiday weekend. That’s because they may be a little bit more sensitive to loud noises, such as sparklers, car backfires or even slamming doors.

Make sure your BreezeGuard Screens are installed
Another way to keep your dog safe this holiday weekend and throughout the year is with BreezeGuard Screens. These easy-to-install window coverings will keep your pup safe and sound in the car even if they get spooked by a sudden noise like fireworks. And, you’ll still be able to keep the window down for all of that wonderful fresh summer air!

Be ready for unexpected turbulence
Unfortunately, even with all of your preparation, your dog may still feel a little bit more uneasy around this time of year. If you notice any of the following signs of turbulence in their personality, understand that it’s a normal reaction of anxiety:

  • Lower tolerance. If you notice that your dog is a little bit more snippy with other dogs or possessive of their toys and food this time of year, it could be that they’re acting out of nervousness. 
  • More neediness. Even dogs that are not overly affectionate can sometimes become velcro dogs when they’re stressed. You may notice your pup following you from room to room. 
  • More puppy-like behaviors. Maybe your dog’s destructive days are long behind them, but when they’re anxious, old habits, such as furniture chewing or howling, bubble up again.

If you notice these signs during the 4th of July festivities, you can probably blame the fireworks and increased noise in the neighborhood for your dog’s change in behavior. Make sure to give them plenty of love and consider talking to your vet about clinical solutions if their symptoms are severe.

We wish you and your dog a Happy 4th!
No matter if you’ll be BBQing at home or heading out to watch a 4th of July parade, we hope that you and your dog can enjoy this holiday to the fullest!


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