Bigger, better and brighter – three words that will surely describe this 4th of July – the first in several years we’ve been able to celebrate together. But along with the glitter and glee are countless perils that can spell danger to your canine buddy. 

Preparing for the 4th of July

No matter what your plans may be, the old adage “an ounce of prevention” can save your dog from unnecessary injury. Do consider the following precautions to keep your dog out of harm this 4th of July.


When a dog is scared, he may bolt in terror, and the 4th of July offers him plenty of things to be scared about. If your pet should escape amid the hoopla, partying, and thunderous noise, you will have a much better chance of getting him back if he’s equipped with identification, specifically:

  • Collar tags that have his name and your telephone number and address
  • Microchip that can be quickly scanned by a vet if your terrified Houdini gets loose
  • A recent photo that shows  he’s your dog

Parties and Barbecues

When You Are Hosting

As the host of your own party, you will be busy with cooking, entertaining, and serving, all activities that will distract you from paying attention to your dog. If he is allowed to join the festivities, pay as much attention to him as possible or appoint someone else to be his guardian during the party. Other precautions include:

  • Put him in a quiet space. If his crate is his safe spot, put it in a quiet, out-of-the-way room. Even if he doesn’t use a crate, still put him away from all the chaos in a quiet spot. 
  • Be vigilant when guests arrive and exit: If your pup is around and about, be extremely careful when greeting guests at the door. Your nervous escape artist can dart out the door without you even noticing.
  • Outside grilling: The smells coming off a grill while steaks, hamburgers, and hotdogs are too enticing to a dog, and he may be tempted to get too close and end up burning himself. 

Going to a Party

The keyword for any parties you attend is to leave your dog nice and cozy at home. But if, for whatever reason you must bring him, opt for some of the same things as when you are the host. In addition:

  • Bring his crate: Ask your host if you can put your dog and his crate in a quiet spot for the duration of the party.
  • Leash: If it doesn’t work to leave him in the guest’s home, leash him and keep the leash, and him,  always attached to you.
  • Leave: If things get too crazy and your dog is becoming visibly shaken, leave!

Water: Pools, Lakes, and Seas

Water can be dangerous for both dogs and their humans, and so, as your dog’s human, don’t take anything for granted about his ability to navigate pools, lakes, seas, and everything in between that is wet. Also, know your dog; those that are heavy-chested usually sink when left to their own devices. An example we know of is a little pug who jumped devotedly into a lake to “save” her owner who had just dove in. The little pug began to sink despite her frantic paddling, but thanks to her owner, emerged safely from the ordeal. 

Here are precautions to take with your pup during any 4th of July water activities:

  • Life vest or jacket: Purchase a life vest that can keep your pet afloat for those moments when he decides to go for a plunge. Be sure to also put the vest on during boating activities.
  • Leash: Keep your buddy tethered to you to manually control his movements toward water, especially when pools are part of a party picture.
  • Baby pools: When the temperature soars, which it typically does in early July, fill a kiddie pool with cool water to refresh your dog.
  • Avoid drinking: Keep your dog from drinking water from swim sources, especially seawater, which can cause dehydration

Dangerous Foods

Danger lurks on buffet tables filled with holiday goodies, and when people are partying, having fun, and not paying attention to your dog, he may be able to sneak all kinds of forbidden foods. If you were a dog, imagine how tantalizing that buffet would be, especially when no humans are watching. Our advice to keep your dog safely confined inside holds true here. In addition, it is critical that you are aware of foods that could hurt, or even kill him. Also important, tell guests to refrain from giving “treats” or handouts to your dog.

  • Alcohol: It’s not farfetched to think your pet could take it upon himself to taste glasses of wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages left unattended. Ingested alcohol can cause serious issues including depression of the central nervous system, difficulty breathing and tremors. 
  • Avocado: Although a more serious toxin for other species, this fruit can cause cardiovascular damage.
  • Chocolate, Coffee, and Caffeine: The substance common to these foods is methylxantine which causes vomiting, diarrhea, panting, thirst, hyperactivity, seizures and even death. 
  • Grapes and Raisins: The danger here is kidney failure. 
  • Milk and Dairy: Dairy products can cause digestive upsets.
  • Onions, Garlic, and Chives: Besides gastrointestinal upset, the ultimate danger is red blood cell damage and anemia.
  • Xylitol: A highly dangerous toxin for dogs, this is a sweetener found in some candy, gum, and baked goods. It can lead to liver failure after initial signs of lethargy, vomiting and clumsiness. 
  • Yeast Dough: Just like dough rises, so can it do so in your pet’s digestive system if ingested. This can lead to bloat and twisting of the stomach, which becomes life-threatening and requires immediate vet care.


If travel is in your plans for the holiday, you may opt to leave your dog in a boarding facility. 

Performance K9 Training & Boarding is San Diego’s top training and boarding facility. Located  in the beautiful San Diego North Country, the facility offers a fully-fenced, one-acre area for dogs to play in, as well as spacious indoor-outdoor kennels.

Keeping dogs safe, comfortable, and calm is our passion, and this means keeping things quiet when the fireworks and firecrackers begin.

So, whatever you do, play it safe with your canine companion with a little bit of thought and planning.