Ask any American and she'll tell you that the Fourth of July is a day for picnics, parades and fireworks … but many people don't know that it's also a dangerous day for dogs.
More dogs go missing on the Fourth than on any other day of the year — and many of those dogs never make it home.
The Fourth can also be a perilous time for dogs because of the new foods, chemicals and toys that might be introduced to the house on this festive occasion. The Dodo spoke with pet expert Nicole Ellis, of DogVacay, about what, exactly, makes the holiday so scary for pets and how families can keep their dogs safe. Here are her 3 pieces of advice:
1. Distraction is key
If you can stay home with your dog during the scary-sounding fireworks, you may be able to distract him with fun toys, tug-of-war or background noise. But try not to get nervous about him being nervous — because dogs can easily pick up on their humans' anxieties.
2. Keep an eye out for hidden dangers
Like most holidays, the Fourth of July comes with accessories. Make sure that any new stuff, like sparklers, plastic decorations or toxic glow sticks stay far away from your dog.
If you're hosting a barbecue or a party at your house, remember that lots of common snack foods are poisonous to dogs, including grapes, onions and avocados.
"If you're having lunch at your house, it could be stressful to your dog," Ellis said. The combination of strangers, unfamiliar noises and the commotion of a holiday can be seriously scary for pets. "Keep a close eye on your dog during those barbecues," Ellis said.
3. Plan ahead
Like all holidays, the Fourth of July is designed for humans — not dogs. Remember that what's fun for you can be scary for them, so follow all the necessary precautions to make sure that your dog has a safe Independence Day — and doesn't add to the statistics of lost dogs this weekend.