4th of July with Your Dog – 4 Things to Prepare Now

As a child I remember sitting on the dock at my grandparent’s lake house on Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, GA so we could watch the firework show across the lake. And that was it, just that one night of fireworks and childhood wonder. Now that I’m a pet parent, I dread the fireworks season because fireworks now seem to start earlier and earlier each year. I try to start preparing well before the big day so everything is on hand. Here’s my list of 4 things to prepare now to be ready for the 4th of July with your dog.

4 Things to Prepare Before

4th of July with Your Dog

  1. Collars & Microchips
  2. Prepare the Freezer
  3. Gather Equipment
  4. Excercise Early
Learn why a sunrise session might be perfect for your dog with Atlanta pet photographer CM Bryson
Double check all collars & tags with ID are correct and on your dog during the holiday.
Double check all collars & tags with ID are correct and on your dog during the holiday.

Check ID Tags & Microchip Registration

Right now, before you even finish reading this post, check your dog – is he wearing a collar and ID tags with the correct information?

Even if your dogs are typically nudists in the house, I would strongly consider having everyone wear collars & ID 24/7 at least in the two weeks surrounding holidays celebrated with fireworks. Being in animal rescue fields for so many years it feels like I have heard every horror story of dogs getting out without a collar due to something unexpected. A collar & tag can get your dog home so much faster. Many animal control services & veterinary offices will be closed over the holiday so it could be several days before the person who finds a dog can have a microchip read.

If you are worried about dangling tags getting caught in crates while on your dog, consider a house collar with your dog’s name & your number embroidered or printed on the collar. My friend at Jessie’s Story just released an entire line of waterproof, stink proof, adorable printed collars with no tag needed.

You should also check on your pet’s microchip.

  • Has a telephone number or address changed since you last updated the microchip contact information?
  • Is a current photo of your dog uploaded to the microchip company or is it the same puppy photo you first uploaded?
  • Can you still login to the microchip company’s website to update information or report a lost pet if needed?
  • Is the microchip still readable? You’ll need your vet to scan your pet and make sure the microchip comes up. I usually get my vet to double check at our annual exams.

Prepare Your Freezer for the 4th of July

Photographing dogs is a better experience for everyone when your pet photographer understands canine body language.

I don’t mean the Impossible burgers and vegan hot dogs you plan on grilling out. I’m talking about the Kongs and Toppls and Rumbls and Qwizls.

Fill them up with tasty treats and pop them in the freezer. This way you have a stock of frozen distractors to treat your pup and keep them occupied when the booms start.

If you’re looking for some fresh ideas for stuffing, I have a few links for you!

Gather Your Dog’s Equipment

If you’ve put away your ThunderShirts now is the time to find them and refresh your dog’s positive associations. You should also make sure you have harnesses and leashes ready for walks and potty breaks. For dogs that are very fearful it can be a good idea to use a leash for night time potty walks even inside a fenced yard as an extra level of protection.

Speaking of extremely fearful dogs, talk to your vet now. There may be medication that would be a good fit for your dog’s needs. You’ll want to have this conversation before the big day and have everything you need on hand at home.

And, in case of emergency, make sure you have a copy of your dog’s medical records and up to date rabies vaccination easily acessible. (I keep a copy saved to a folder on my phone.) If an emergency happens and you need to go to a veterinary ER clinic that’s not your primary care, having that information right at your fingertips can be really helpful to the vet staff. 

Professional pet photos of reactive dogs? Atlanta pet photographer shares her method for delivering beautiful dog photography for reactive dogs.
Professional pet photos of reactive dogs? Atlanta pet photographer shares her method for delivering beautiful dog photography for reactive dogs.

Exercise Early & Have Indoor Games

Photographing dogs is a better experience for everyone when your pet photographer understands canine body language.

If evening walks are your usual routine, you might want to change it up. Having your walks early in the morning will let you and your dog let go of some excess energy before the fireworks begin. Starting this new routine at least a few days early can help your dog get used to the routine change as well.

You might also consider having some indoor games ready to play. We love scent work games here (Lira & Carolina both take weekly scent work classes at Canine Country Academy) and it’s a game we can do at home with everyone. You can also set up mini obstacle courses or “trick stations” where you can rotate through different tricks. Getting your dog’s brain engaged can really help with nervous energy.

How do you prepare your dog for the 4th of July?

Do you have any tricks or tips for helping your dog get through the fireworks?

This blog is part of an international circle of pet photographers. Each week we blog on a certain topic and invite you on a trip around the world. This week’s theme is all about the 4th of July preparations. 

Next up Sacramento pet photographer Kylee Doyle shares some tips on how to help your pup get through the Fourth of July holiday worry-free!

Just click the link at the end of each blog post until you find yourself back here!

What to read next?

5 Comments

  1. Jan

    So thankful that it stays pretty quiet out here in the woods. Our dogs aren’t fans of fireworks at all. Thanks for sharing such great info, I’m going to try those frozen treat recipes!

    Reply
  2. Terri

    I love that frozen treat idea. Great tips

    Reply
  3. Elaine

    Love your treat ideas and links! Will be trying some.

    Reply
  4. Darlene

    HOw adorable is that matching collar set! I will have to check out the site! Thank you for sharing some links to treats. Great post!

    Reply
  5. Tracy Allard

    The matching belt and collar are so cute! When I first read the list and saw “prepare the freezer”, I said “I wonder where this is going?”, of course, lasting, lick-able treats. Licking is a soothing behavior for dogs, so this is a perfect addition to anyone’s “4th of July survival kit”.

    Reply

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