It’s the 4th of July!

So, what makes a great Independence Day party?

Easy, right?

BBQs and beers. Friends and fireworks.

(It kind of feels like I’m writing song-titles for the next Green Day album… Weird.)

Maybe a nice hot and sunny day too. Sport on the TV (sorry it won’t be the soccer World Cup. Still, the USA’s performance made us Brits look like amateurs!)  The kids happily amusing themselves in the back yard and the dog running around, right in the thick of it.

A perfect summer’s day.

Whoah, hang on. Back up a second. “The dog right in the thick of it”? Ok, hit pause on that day dream; we need to talk…

I’m not a party-pooper, I’m really not. I love a gathering as much as the next guy or gal. And let’s face it, your dog is a member of your family, of course you want to invite him or her to the party. As long as your dog is cool about hanging out in crowds (we talked about this in last week’s post) then great – do it!

Here’s a few tips to make sure everyone enjoys the party.


Dogs love human food. Sadly, human food doesn’t often like dogs so resist the urge to share your sausages and stick to your doggie’s normal diet. A trip to the vet emergency room is bound to ruin any party. Try stuffing a Kong with some of your dog’s meat or moistened kibble; you can even freeze it beforehand to make a canine iced treat if you’re expecting hot weather.


Dogs, like kids, love to play. And, like kids, it can all get a bit silly when dogs get overexcited and start making bad decisions. Try playing some structured games, such as hiding doggie-tidbits around the house and garden for them to find, and make sure to have quiet rest times between games to keep everyone calm (Westpaw stock some great robust toys to keep your dog busy).

Smaller guests.

Little kids are cute. They’re also weird, unpredictable, noisy and prone to doing unexpected things at the most inopportune moments. This can freak out even the most laid-back, well adjusted hound, so don’t leave it up to your dog to supervise the kids, especially visiting ones. Keep your eyes on them at all times, or keep them apart. No-one, human or canine, wants to end up in a cone!

Image: Dog is Good


A uniquely human fascination, dogs do not understand that watching the sky exploding overhead is supposed to be fun. Check if there are any planned events in your neighbourhood and ensure your dog (and any other pets) are safely tucked away in doors well before they start. If your dog is really frightened of fireworks, maybe consider boarding him or her this year.  Talk to your vet about suitable medication to help  alleviate the fear. and consult a qualified, reward-focused trainer to learn how you can work to reduce your dog’s fear for future events.


Some dogs don’t like to share their stuff with other dogs or people, especially unfamiliar ones. If this sounds like your dog, maybe inviting the outside world into his or her space isn’t the right thing this year. Instead, get yourself an invite to the neighbours’ BBQ and leave your hound at home!

And finally, if your dog would rather disappear off to a quiet corner of the house for the entire event, that’s cool too. It’s Independence Day after all, so be sure to respect your dog’s independence. That way, everyone can have a great 4th of July!

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