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Although a celebratory day for humans, the July 4th holiday brings multiple threats to our dogs’ health and happiness. The American Veterinary Medical Association warns that fireworks, picnics, cookouts, and other Fourth of July traditions can be frightening and even dangerous for pets. Up to half of dogs react fearfully to fireworks, according to owner surveys.

There are some steps you can take before, during, and after the holiday to keep your best friend safe.

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Prepare for the Festivities

Desensitize your dog to loud sounds. Use positive enforcement to show that these loud noises are too scary. Play recordings of fireworks and thunder while you and your dog relax together. As the sounds play, toss your dog a treat.

Identify your dog’s stress signals. Dogs that are fearful may whine, pant or drool, pace, tremble, attach themselves to you, or look for a place to hide. Acknowledge this and know when to comfort your dog.

Be sure your dog is easy to identify. Many dogs take flight when they’re frightened. If your dog makes a run for it, are their tags and microchip information up to date? Do you have a current photo?

Install a home camera. Indoor and outdoor cameras can help you locate where your dog is. The ones from Ring offer high-definition Live View and Two-Way Talk enabling you to see, hear, and speak to your pets from anywhere. The Ring Indoor Cam will allow you to reassure your dog, even when you’re not home. Just plug it in and monitor your dog’s behavior through the Ring App.

Prepare to keep track of your dog when he’s outside, too. Ring offers a range of spotlight and floodlight-enabled outdoor security cameras. Hardwired for non-stop power and protection, Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus covers large outdoor areas of your home, such as your driveway or garden, featuring a wide-angle view and powerful motion-activated LED floodlights to keep your pets in sight.

Create a pet profile. The Neighbors App by Ring’s Pet Profiles helps users to quickly share critical information with their community that can help reunite them with a lost pet. Just add recent photos and important details, like medical needs or familiar commands, to your profile. If your pet goes missing, you can instantly create a lost pet post and alert your community to be on the lookout.

Get professional help. If your pet’s anxiety is severe, make an appointment with your vet, so you can discuss a medication that could help soothe your dog, and/or solicit assistance from an animal behaviorist. This may help them calm down during these traumatic times.

When You Celebrate

Keep your dog inside in a safe space when fireworks go off. If you go outside, watch your dog for signs of stress and to talk to and reassure them using a pet camera. Set up an area away from doors and windows, for example in a basement or large closet, where noise is muted. Some dogs feel safest in a crate with their blankets, toys, and treats.

Secure doors and windows. A dog that is truly terrified may bolt through a screen to find a safe place to hide. By making sure everything is shut, you’ll reduce the likelihood of them getting out.

Keep your dog on a leash. When you need to take your dog outside to do his business, go with him and hold on to the leash even in your own backyard, in case fireworks go off during this time.

Keep curious pooches away from lighters. Not only do fireworks, sparklers, and glow sticks scare dogs, but they also contain hazardous chemicals and can burn when they’re hot. Barbecue grills, charcoal, matches, and lighter fluid should also be kept out of reach.

Don’t allow guests to feed your dog table scraps. Many foods for humans, including onions, garlic, chocolate, and alcoholic beverages are toxic for dogs.

Dalmatian eyeing a piece of meat on a skewer.

Keep your dog cool inside the house. July can be a particularly hot time of year. You’re your pet is outside, make sure clean water and shady areas are available. Stay alert for signs that they could be overheating, and never leave your dog in the car on a warm day.

Stay away from sunscreen or insect repellents made for humans. Your dog may lick them and get sick. Keep citronella candles, insect coils, and tiki torch products out of reach.

Comfort your nervous dog. If you’re dog exhibits signs of severe stress, stay calm and use a soothing tone of voice as you pet him slowly and gently.

After the Holiday

Check your yard. Before letting your dog outside to play, look for and remove all fireworks debris, which can be dangerous if ingested. Also remove full trashcans, trash bags, beer cans, drink cups, and food scraps that your pet could get into.

Use your pet protection equipment from now on. Ring indoor and outdoor cameras allow you to observe and reassure your pet whenever you go out and to keep an eye on him when you’re in the house and he’s in your yard. A notifies you when your pets come and go with the dog walker or family members–and lets you respond to them in real-time.

Since its founding in 2013, Ring has been on a mission to make neighborhoods safer, together for everyone. From the first-ever Video Doorbell, to the award-winning DIY Ring Alarm system, Ring’s smart home security product line, as well as the Neighbors app, offer users affordable whole-home and neighborhood security. At Ring, we are committed to making security accessible and convenient for everyone—while working hard to bring communities together. Ring is an Amazon company. For more information, visit www.ring.com. With Ring, you’re always home.

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