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Keeping Your Dog Safe on Independence Day

The firecrackers and noisemakers may be popular with humans but can traumatize a canine.

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, which means cookouts, beach, family, friends, fun and fireworks. We Floridians love to celebrate the freedom we have in our country. All of us, that is, except our dogs.

Don't get me wrong, our dogs love the cookouts, beach, family and friends, but the fireworks? Not so much.  

I am one of the lucky owners whose dogs aren't bothered by the thunderous fireworks; however, so many are terrified by the loud sounds these things make. It would be great if we could talk to our dogs and explain everything is OK, but we can't make them understand. Many dogs will run and hide from the loud noise. So, to prevent runaways, I put together a quick list of precautions dog owners can take when celebrating this Fourth of July. 

  • Make sure your dog is in a comfortable place. Most people allow their dogs inside; if you do, keep them there. I love to share experiences with my two, but not all are for them. If you keep them home, they can get in their "safe place" and try to comfort themselves when they hear loud booms from across town.
  • Do not leave your dog tied up outside while you watch the fireworks.  Everyone is looking up at the sky and a scared dog can get away in the blink of an eye. By the time you look down, your dog is long gone when the search begins. A scared dog is also more likely to bite out of fear.
  • Make sure your dog has tags, or better yet, a microchip! If your dog does run, a microchip, which is implanted under your dog's skin, can help rescuers trace the pooch back to its rightful owner. A collar and tags can easily be removed by bushes, a fence, a fight, or dishonest people.

Unfortunately, people get so wrapped up in the fun and festivities that they forget about their dog's comfort. While we like to share our lives with our dogs, sometimes, we need to keep in mind that not every celebration is good for them.

I hope you and your furry friends have a fun and SAFE Fourth of July! 

In St. Petersburg, the city's grand fireworks display starts at 9 p.m. Monday, July 4th, on the downtown waterfront. The best viewing is in North Shore Park, Vinoy Park, Spa Beach and the Pier.

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