Going to a fourth of July celebration with your dog? Here’s a few tips before you go

In the US, the fourth of July week signals one of the biggest bbq celebrations of the year. Americans celebrate with food, drinks and of course, fireworks. However, the latter may cause some concern for dog lovers out there.

While many Americans will want to take their dogs to these celebrations, the American Kennel Club has cautioned that dog parents should consider several factors before bringing their dog along.

Dogs should be monitored closely at bbqs (image: Nastya Korenkova/Pexels)

What type of food will be served?  

While it may seem like a dog’s dream to be in a bbq surrounded by food, they could end up eating something that could pose a risk to their health.

“You almost have to assume your dog is going to eat something he shouldn’t,” said Dr Carly Fox, a senior veterinarian in emergency and urgent care at The Schwarzman Animal Medical Center of New York City.

One of these potentially hazardous foods include corn on the cob. The corn can be broken into pieces and get stuck in the intestines when eaten on the cob. They can eat off the cob in smaller amounts.

Kebabs are another food that could catch your dog’s eye (or nose). However, an overeager dog could get their mouth on the entire kebab including the skewer which could potentially lead to GI issues or could puncture something internally.

Cooked bones could also be hazardous to your dog. They can splinter off and cause internal damage, choking or get lodged in the intestines.

Paper and plastic cutlery may be appealing to your dog as it could have the scent of food, but if your dog manages to sink their teeth into a styrofoam cup, paper dishes, or plastic cups, they could end up with an upset stomach or internal obstruction.

Will there be a lot of people?

In a bbq setting, it’s a possibility that your dog will be around many strangers, some of which may not like dogs.

“Not everyone is comfortable around dogs, and dogs can sense a person’s fear,” said Fox. AKC advises introducing your pet to each person and gauge each of their reaction and to keep your dog on a leash.

You dog may be around many strangers in a bbq (image: Rosemary Ketchum/Pexels)

Will the space be enclosed?

As previously mentioned, it’s best to keep your dog on a leash. In a bbq setting, it’s possible that people will be coming in and out, leaving doors and gates open. With the smell of food and the different sounds in the bbq setting, your dog could be startled and instinctively take off running.

According to statistics, more dogs are lost during the Fourth of July holiday than any other time of year. Make sure you microchip your pet, update their tag information and consider buying them a GPS dog collar. Consider packing items such as earmuffs and goggles to help protect your dog amid the fireworks.

Will there be fireworks?

Fireworks are synonymous with the fourth of July. Dogs can be extremely sensitive to loud sounds, so if there happens to be fireworks, it’s best to keep them as far away as possible. To help reduce their stress, find a safe space for them away from the fireworks and be sure to bring one of their favorite blankets, toys, or even their crate to keep them as comfortable as possible.

Aside from the noises, there are plenty of other good reasons to keep your dog away from the fireworks display. Firework are made from materials such as gunpowder, sulfur, heavy metals, and dense cardboard, all of which can be extremely dangerous if ingested. Your canine companion could also be at risk for burns if debris or ash lands on them.

Dog parents should bring their dog’s favorite toy to help them relax (image: Екатерина Котик/Pexels)

Will there be a pool?

If you are going to a bbq with a pool, keep your dog on a leash and monitored at all times to avoid any risk of an accident.

Will there be alcohol?

At a bbq, dogs could accidentally drink from an unattended cup or lap up a spill. Fox says dogs are often attracted to hard liquor when it’s mixed with something sweet, such as pineapple or cranberry juice. If your dog exhibits signs such as vomitingdiarrhea, weakness, or lack of balance, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Should you take you dog to a BBQ?

With all of these factors and risks considered, should you take your dog to a bbq? As the dog parent you are the only one who could answer that best, but dog parents should think about whether or not their dog would be safer and more comfortable at home.

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