4th of July Pets

Summertime, and the living is easy for you and your dog! The warm weather brings us all into the outdoors, the place most dogs love more than any other. This 4th of July, why not design some fun for your dog? It's sure to be a lot of fun for you and your family, too.

If you'll be attending a picnic, barbecue, or other gathering during the holiday weekend, see if you can arrange a way to include your dog. Kids love having dogs around, so pets make perfect additions to family get-togethers. If you're worried about your dog's behavior, you might take your pup for a long hike, jog, or swim before hand to work off some of that excess energy. Even high-strung dogs often calm down in a crowd if they're given a little time to acclimate and explore the area. It's always smart to put some extra dog treats in your pocket as well, to provide your pup with an added incentive to behave and to come when called.

Most small towns across the country put on 4th of July parades that just about anyone is welcome to walk in. If you'd like to take your furry friend down Main Street in the parade, contact the local chamber of commerce to see where you could fit. If your dog is purebred, you might be able to join other owners and dogs of your breed. Many towns have a "Bassets on Parade" group, a "Beagle Brigade",or a "Poodle Patrol" as part of the parade. You just have to show up to join!

Regardless of whether you'll be in the parade or on the sidelines, July 4 is a great time to let your pet wear a costume. Gregarious dogs will love the extra attention this brings them from kids and adults alike. You can decorate a lightweight doggie jacket or harness with stars and stripes or affix colored pompoms to your dog's collar. If you aren't sure how your dog will react to the costume, try it out at home first. And if costumes prove to be too much for your dog to take, you can still decorate the leash with colorful streamers or shiny pompoms. Get creative and see what you can come up with!

Because many dogs are terrified by the sound of fireworks, it's best to limit your doggie activities to the daylight hours. Be sure to give your pet plenty of water and, if the day is warm, seek out shady spots where your pup can cool down.

Before night falls, take a minute to plan the evening from your dog's perspective. Every dog responds differently to fireworks, so it's important to know how your own dog is likely to react. Some high-strung dogs are so badly frightened by the booming sounds that they're better off taking a tranquilizer before the fireworks start. Consult your veterinarian ñ or a local vet if you're traveling ñ for advice. The vet may suggest that you create a snug hiding place for your dog or park your RV as far away from the fireworks as possible.

No matter what you have planned for this July 4th, your dog would certainly like to be involved. Whether it's a hike, a lake-side picnic, a family reunion, or a parade, plan a way for your dog to come along and make it a happy holiday for everyone. Even dogs like to celebrate the Grand Old Fourth!Looking for more information and other great articles about camping with pets? Visit
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