Independence Day Safety

A red dog sits in front of a fire place with an American flag in its mouth

With the July 4th holiday come celebrations and outdoor activities that can be fun for people, but sometimes harmful for our pets. Here are some tips to keep this day an enjoyable and safe holiday for the whole family, Fido included.

“Fireworks can frighten dogs and cause them to escape and become injured,” said Dr. James Barr, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Make sure your pet is supervised during the day and nighttime hours as well.” The best idea is to keep dogs, particularly those with noise phobias, away from the commotion if at all possible.

Another factor that can cause anxiety and stress in dogs is being around large crowds of unfamiliar people. If you know ahead of time that your dogs do not do well with large groups, it is better to leave them at home or board them for the day. If you do decide to bring them to the festivities, it is recommended to have a safe, calm area where the dogs can relax.

“Being outdoors in the hot humid environment may cause those pets not used to the heat to have problems with heat,” said Barr. “Allow the pets to be in a shaded area and have plenty of fresh water available at all times.”

Additionally, it is imperative that you closely supervise Fido or Fluffy throughout the day and night so that they aren’t tempted to indulge in the human food. July 4th celebrations bring with them many tasty human treats that might be toxic to animals, and with the large crows of people, that can be easily and unnoticeably accessed by our pets.

“Accidental ingestion of rich foods and bones are common on July 4th,” said Barr. “Be careful about what your pets have access to and make sure to keep a close eye on them to avoid sickness.”

Another good rule of thumb is if you are going to be in a place where unvaccinated dogs might be, such as soccer fields, baseball fields, or parks, you want to make sure your dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations. It isn’t smart to take an unvaccinated puppy, or a dog that hasn’t completed the whole vaccine series, to a place with potential transmittable diseases or threats.

Keeping these tips in mind, you and your whole family can enjoy Fido’s presence while celebrating this fun-filled holiday.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at Suggestions for future topics may be directed to

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons