BBS Training Tip #8: Fourth of July Safety
BestBullySticks wishes everybody — and their dogs! — a safe and happy 4th of July! Independence Day is usually packed with great outdoor activities like barbeques and fireworks. For many, cooking out is the cornerstone of any summer holiday. Summer holidays are also a great to way to celebrate with your dog.
Hosting a party with pets does come with a few extra responsibilities, though. But don’t sweat it! BestBullySticks has put together a quick and easy guide to help you pet proof your party!
One Man’s Trash is Another Dog’s Treasure
With so much food and so many people, it can be hard to completely dog-proof your cookout. People are bound to toss dogs food during most any party. Politely ask your guests to refrain. Many folks simply don’t know there are foods dogs shouldn’t eat.
Everything from plastic wrap to food scraps are hazardous to your dog. While most dogs don’t particularly enjoy eating plastic wrap or tin foil — when these items are covered with residue from food it’s a different story altogether.
Plastic wrap and tin foil can cause nasty digestive issues and inedible food scraps also pose serious choking hazards. Cooked bones crack and splinter with ease increasing the chance of scratching or puncturing the esophagus and intestines and indigestible items like corn cobs are choking hazards for dogs. If swallowed, these items may cause serious internal injuries possibly requiring a trip to the emergency room.
Consider securing your garbage bins with a sealable or weighted lid. Also, you may want place a few bins around your yard. Not only will you have less cleanup, it will minimize the risk of your dog eating anything unsavory.
Many people don’t even think about matches, charcoal and starter fluid as dog-related hazards. They smell foul and probably taste even worse but sometimes that isn’t enough to deter the most adventurous eaters. Matches contain phosphorous, a poisonous chemical. While eating a book of matches might not be fatal, it is without a doubt a great way to cause mild poisoning and may require a trip to the vet.
Lighter fluid is also a toxic item guaranteed to be found at most any cookout. Aside from the fluid itself which is fatal if swallowed, it’s fumes are equally dangerous when inhaled. Keep chemicals and cleaning supplies like lighter fluid up high or securely locked in a cabinet.
Fireworks are a great way to top off a holiday evening. Sadly, many dogs are terrified of fireworks and have a lot of difficulty coping with them. If you have time before a planned fireworks show, you may want to try desensitizing your dog to the sound of fireworks. It’s actually quite simple to break your dog’s phobia of fireworks through desensitization.
First, get your hands on a video or audio recording of fireworks. Play the clip on repeat while engaging your dog in a fun or consoling activity. By building an association between fireworks and fun or cuddle time, your dog will begin to understand there’s nothing to worry about. Try spreading things out. A daily, 15-20 minute session should be sufficient. Be sure to raise the volume with each session — don’t go too fast though! If your dog shows visible signs of fear, tone it down and start again with a lower volume. If you start things off by cranking it all the way to eleven, you might even make your dog’s fear of fireworks worse!
Some owners have little luck desensitizing their dog to fireworks. If you don’t seem to be making any progress, there are a few alternatives. Before the big show, sit at home with your dog and a loud TV or stereo to drown out the fireworks. Make sure windows and doors are closed, too. The more you can isolate your dog from the sound of fireworks the better off he’ll be. Treats are also a great way to help your dog relax. Consider giving your dog one of our 12 Inch Thick American Bully Sticks — these delicious distractions extra long lasting and guaranteed to keep your dog occupied through the the show.
Dogs with severe anxiety have it even worse. If you think your dog has anxiety issues, consider visiting a vet to discuss the possibility of using medication to help your pooch relax during heightened times of stress.
For many places around the United States, July is the hottest month of the year. Provide your dog with plenty of fresh water and a shady spot to hang out. Dehydration and excessive exposure to the sun dramatically increase the chances of developing heat stroke.
Heat stroke can creep up quick so be sure to keep an eye on your dog while outside. For more tips on summer safety, refer to our recent post on Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool This Summer. Stay safe this Independence Day and take the necessary steps to pet-proof your home and yard in preparation of a holiday get together.