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8 Australia Day Safety Tips for Dogs (2024 Guide)

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog wearing australian flag

8 Australia Day Safety Tips for Dogs (2024 Guide)

Australia Day is observed each year to celebrate the day that the First Fleet at Sydney Cove originally landed and to commemorate the raising of the Union Flag. Every year on January 26, Australians come together to celebrate Australia Day with traditions such as setting off fireworks, attending outdoor concerts, engaging in festival activities, and enjoying local community events.

While celebrating Australia Day is fun and exciting for humans, it can be dangerous for dogs that live in your household. Most canines don’t understand the intricacies of fireworks and could be injured by them. They might try to eat a plate of barbecue that is filled with spices that they shouldn’t eat. They may even get lost in the crowd of people that you are celebrating with. Fortunately, you can safely include your dog in your Australia Day celebrations by following these tips.


The 8 Australia Day Safety Tips for Dogs

1.  Throw Away All the Bones

Dog chewing on bone treat
Image Credit: James Smith, Pixabay

If you’re like most Australians, part of celebrating Australia Day will include a barbecue. Whether you’ll be barbecuing with the family before an afternoon celebration with friends or barbecuing is the main event, keep meat bones out of reach of your dog under all circumstances. Dogs can easily choke on bones, which can be detrimental.

Set up a special garbage bin with a lid that is dedicated to the disposal of meat bones. Make sure everyone in attendance at your barbecue understands that they should place all their bones in the bin and ensure that the lid is secure before throwing their plates away or getting more food. This should help make sure your dog doesn’t get a hold of a bone when you aren’t looking.

2.  Warn Everyone Against Feeding Your Dog

white onions
Image Credit: Erbs55, Pixabay

Barbecued meats and side dishes are typically seasoned with herbs and spices like onions and garlic. Unfortunately, garlic and onions can be poisonous to dogs. So, it’s crucial to make sure nobody at your Australia Day celebration feeds your dog, lest they accidentally give them something toxic.

Make it a point to tell everyone to not feed your dog, and keep them away from the spaces and tables where people are eating, so nobody is tempted. You can leave a bowl of treats out on a table so people can feed these to your dog instead, which should make it easier for them to resist the urge to offer people food.

3.  Make Sure Shade and Water Are Always Available

dog drinking water from bottle at the beach
Image Credit: Alla Pogrebnaya, Shutterstock

It’s typically hot and sunny outside on Australia Day. You may feel fine in the sun, but your dog has a coat of hair, and they could get too hot. Heatstroke is a real possibility if your dog gets too hot, and it can be tough to tell when a dog is at risk of heatstroke, especially when a celebration is happening and your attention is focused on multiple things at once.

To ensure that your dog doesn’t get uncomfortable or succumb to heatstroke, make sure shade and water are always available to them. If they can’t lie under a tree, place an umbrella out for them to get under when necessary. Check their water bowl once an hour or so, and fill it up as necessary.

4.  Consider a Constraint Method

Corgi dog on the green the grass on the leash barks
Image Credit: Bachkova Natalia, Shutterstock

If you plan to celebrate Australia Day away from home in a public place and you will be taking your dog along, consider bringing a constraint contraption with you to keep them from running off and getting lost. This could be a leash with a clip on the handle that you can attach to your bag or a bench, or it could be a portable dog playpen.

If you will be at a friend or family member’s house, find out whether they have a fenced yard that you can rely on to keep your dog contained while you’re there. Whatever the case, make sure the space around your dog’s area is optimized for their comfort with food, water, bedding, toys, and shelter.

5.  Watch Out for the Water

Walking the dog on a leash with the pet owner on the beach
Image Credit: Wolfgang Claussen, Pixabay

Whether you’ll be spending time at the beach or hanging out in a yard with a swimming pool, watch your dog around the water even if they know how to swim. Treat the situation as if you were caring for a toddler, and make sure your dog never enters the water unless you are nearby to supervise them.

If necessary, fit your dog with a flotation device for extra protection if there is a possibility that they could enter a body of water without you noticing. Alternatively, you can leash your dog to a tree or bench to keep them from entering the water at all unless you specifically allow them to.

6.  Ensure That Your Dog Is Identifiable

a brown doberman with a red dog collar
Image Credit: Tanika, Pexels

It is a good idea to make sure your dog is identifiable just in case they get lost during the Australia Day festivities. Consider having your pet microchipped if you have not already. This is the best way to ensure that you will be notified if someone finds your lost canine. Another thing that you can do is adorn your dog with a small handkerchief or scarf that has a unique, identifiable design. This will make it easier for people to spot your dog once you alert them of the disappearance.

7.  Never Leave Your Dog Unattended

two dogs with leash
Image Credit: Matej Kastelic, Shutterstock

Under no circumstances should you leave your dog unattended while celebrating Australia Day, unless you are leaving them securely enclosed in your home where they are safe and cannot run away or get lost. Whenever going outside with your dog, even if just to your own backyard, you must always have an eye on them.

Even just a minute of distraction when you aren’t watching your dog could result in them getting lost. Always keep them on a leash, or make sure they are within earshot and line of sight if you trust them to obey your commands.

8.  Be Prepared for the Fireworks Displays

two dogs afraid of fireworks
Image Credit: smrm1977, Shutterestock

Firework displays are a staple when it comes to celebrating Australia Day, but unfortunately, dogs are not fond of them. Dogs that are afraid of fireworks might try to run and hide if they are not in their homes where they feel safe. Dogs that are not afraid of fireworks may try to run toward and even into them.

This scenario can lead to serious damage and even death. So, it’s best to keep a close eye on your dog and prepare for the fireworks. Make sure your dog is leashed and by your side before you expect the show to begin.

Don’t leave your dog outside, even in a fenced yard, when the fireworks go off in your neighbourhood if you know that they are afraid of them. Keep your dog in the house if you plan to set off fireworks yourself, and you know that they are either afraid of or intrigued by them.


3 Fun Ways to Celebrate Australia Day With Your Dog

There are many fun ways that you can celebrate Australia Day if you want your dog by your side. First, consider what your dog does and doesn’t like, how sociable they are, and whether they are afraid of fireworks. This way, you can confidently plan your day!

Here are dog-friendly celebration options to consider that should please your dog while keeping them safe.

1. Plan a Picnic.

group of people with a dog sitting on a picnic blanket on the grass
Image Credit: Helena Lopes, Pexels

Pack sandwiches, and make one especially for your dog (something like peanut butter and banana is sure to please!). Skip any herbs and spices or salty snacks that are harmful to dogs. Bring along things like fresh fruit, carrot and celery sticks, and oat cookies that everyone, including the dog, can eat.

Instructions: Pack a blanket, sparkling water, an umbrella for shade, and a ball, then head to a park or a beach to celebrate Australia Day. The whole family will have fun, the dog will get plenty of exercise, and your picnic won’t contain bones and other harmful things that your dog shouldn’t consume.

2. Go on a Hike.

woman and dog hiked
Image Credit: Pixabay
Instructions: Almost all dogs love to hike, and the activity will help ensure that they stay calm and relaxed if fireworks do go off during the evening and night-time hours. Hiking offers the opportunity for humans and dogs to see new things, smell new scents, and get invigorated about life. It’s a great bonding experience too.

If you want to celebrate Australia Day with your dog, but you aren’t comfortable taking them to the social spaces that you’ll enjoy during the evening, or if you just want to spend a quiet day reflecting on what the day is all about, think about taking a long hike.

3. Plan a Backyard Party.

friends with dog toasting healthy orange fruit juice at countryside picnic
Image Credit: View Apart, Shutterstock
Instructions: It will also enable you to put your dog in the house if things seem to get out of hand for them or they seem to feel insecure or threatened. You’ll also be around to make them feel safe if the fireworks start going off in your neighbourhood.

If you want to celebrate the day with family and friends yet keep your dog involved without putting them in any jeopardy, plan a backyard party at your place. This will enable you to keep your dog restrained at your home, where you know they will be safe, while also enabling them to stay by your side throughout the day.

The only way to ensure that your dog will be safe during Australia Day is to stay home with them. That said, it’s also the only way that humans stay safe too. Even then, something could still go wrong that is dangerous or even life-threatening. So, there is no reason to not find a way to enjoy the outdoors with your dog during Australia Day if you really want to.

divider-dog paw


Australia Day is a day of celebration, but it should not be at the expense of dogs. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do to keep your dog safe during this time and many ways that you can safely celebrate with them if that is your desire!

Featured Image Credit: SvetikovaV, Shutterstock

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