The Fourth of July is always such a wonderful summertime ritual to celebrate with family, friends and our doggies. Here are a few tips to ensure that your pup stays safe and happy during the holiday.

Leave your dog home and indoors during firework displays. Many dogs are afraid of loud noises and big crowds full of strangers. Your dog may panic and injury himself or herself.

Keep your dog away from fireworks. Not only can lit fireworks, such as sparklers, burn your curious dog, but ingesting fireworks can be toxic. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.

Avoid human sunscreen and insect repellent. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lists the poisonous effects of sunscreen on your pup as “drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.” In addition, DEET, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues. Further, oils, candles, insect coils and other citronella-based repellants are irritating toxins that cause severe respiratory illnesses in dogs.

Proper identification. Your dog should always be fitted with proper identification in case he or she wanders off. Consider fitting your pup with microchip identification, ID tags with his or her name and your phone number, or both. Plus, it’s always a good idea to have a recent photo of your pup. (Obviously for us RDMs just look at our smart phones!)

Keep your pup away from holiday jewelry and decorations. While glow sticks, rings, necklaces, hats and flags may look cute on your fur baby, he or she may chew and swallow the plastic adornments.

Do not let your dog near the hot barbecue grill. Further, keep matches and lighter fluid out of your dog’s reach. The ASPCA lists chlorates as a harmful chemical substance found in some matches that, if ingested, can cause your pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation on contact, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested.

Watch for overheating and dehydration. Too much sun, heat and humidity can be dangerous for your dog. Keep him or her inside on hot days or in a shady, cooler spot. Always make sure to have fresh water on hand and never leave your dog in a car on a hot day period.

Keep the following foods and beverages away from your dog:

  • Sweets, candy and gum: Some candies and gum contain the ingredient Xylitol. This sweetener may cause low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.
  • Chocolate: In large enough amounts, chocolate and cocoa products can kill your dog. The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine.
  • Raisins and grapes: Dogs who eat a large amount of either may go into renal failure.
  • Walnuts and macadamia nuts: Though fatalities are rare, as few as 10 nuts can cause frightening symptoms in a small dog, such as muscle weakness, tremors and vomiting. Stick with almonds or peanut butter.


  • Wonderful information! Our 80lb pup is so scared of fireworks, he trembles for days. I almost wish we could just skip July. During storms, and fireworks, we have him in our walk-in closet, with his thunder jacket, on his bed, buried under his blanket with his little face sticking out. It’s quite sad… but he feels safe there. I love all the tips you share Erin…. THANK YOU!!!

    • Awwhh! Hugs to your pup and you! We would love to feature you on our blog! If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send you the interview questions. xoxo

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