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How to Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks on the 4th of July

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Dog Safety By Meg Marrs 5 min read August 31, 2021 11 Comments

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With so many dogs terrified of fireworks, 4th of July can be a frightening time for pups everywhere. In fact, July 5th is often the busiest day of the year at animal shelters, as pets run off from home in fear, found lost and confused the next day.

How to Keep Dogs Calm During Fireworks

1. Desensitize Your Dog

Begin by getting your dog accustomed to the sound of fireworks – this video on YouTube is a great starting point!

As the fireworks sounds/video is going, play with your pup! Break out toys and treats to get your dog to begin associating firework sounds with good, fun things!

2. Provide Your Dog With a Safe Space

Some dogs will feel comforted by having their own safe space to hide when frightening fireworks go off. Consider purchasing a crate (we have a list of the best crates for separation anxiety – these will serve as great comfort crates for other stressors as well).

Add some cozy blankets, a crate bed, and a few favorite toys to make a true comfort den for your nervous canine.

3. Distract Your Dog With Tasty Toys

Give your dog something better to do than worry! Give him a good chew to chomp on or a dog puzzle toy to keep him occupied. Another popular dog distraction strategy is to fill a Kong with tasty wet food and freeze it – your pooch will spend the next few hours licking away at it.

dog with kong

Some ultra-terrified dogs may not be interested in eating when they are so scared, but others may be on board. If you begin this practice with your puppy, it will further reinforce that fireworks = fun!

4. Update Your Dog’s Collar & Tags

It’s not uncommon for dogs to escape and bolt during fireworks out of fear. In fact, July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters, as they spend most of the day making phone calls and trying to reunite missing pets with their frantic owners.

Make sure your dog has a properly fitting collar and ID tags with contact info, just in case he takes off. A dog with easily accessible contact info can make all the difference when it comes to stopping your dog from getting lost, as anyone who finds your dog may be able to quickly reunite you.

It’s also smart to have recent photos of your dog on hand to send to shelters so they can keep an eye out for your pooch.

If you know your dog is especially prone to taking off at the sound of firecrackers, consider getting your pooch geared up with a dog GPS tracker so you can locate them once things have calmed down.

5. Exercise Your Pet

Earlier in the day, try to take your pooch for a good long walk to tire him out. As the saying goes – “a tired dog is a happy dog.” Tuckering your pooch out can reduce his anxiety and may prevent him from getting overly anxious later in the evening when the fireworks go off.

Just make sure to adhere to basic summer safety guidelines when it comes to exercising in the heat. We recommend a nice long walk in the AM!

how often walk dog

6. Try a Thundershirt (Or Make Your Own)

Many owners swear by the power of the Thundershirt – a wraparound vest your dog wears that is said to instantly calm them down through the use of gentle pressure.

Grab the official Thundershirt, or try making your own DIY version using a scarf or ace bandage. Make sure to read our full hands-on review of the Thundershirt to get a better assessment of whether or not the Thundershirt garment can help your pup with firework anxiety.

 7. Leave the TV or Radio On

While we mentioned playing firework sounds to desensitize your pet early on, it’s also not a bad idea to keep the radio or TV on if you plan on being out during the fireworks. Other sounds may distract your pet from the booming firework noises.

Some dogs seem to appreciate classical music, while other owners report that their pups enjoy the soothing sounds of talk radio or NPR. A few options are:

8. Shut the Curtains

Close the windows and curtains during fireworks to minimize sound and keep your dog feeling safe. If you have any areas of your home that tend to be more sound-proof than others, opt for those sound-dampening areas to alleviate your pup’s anxiety.

If you have a basement, taking your dog down there can help reduce noise. Throw in some laundry and put on some music to drown out any firework noise.

9. Consider Anti-Anxiety Medication

For some dogs, medicine might be the best way to go. See our list of the best anti-anxiety medicine for dogs, including calming treats and other over-the-counter options you can order online, as well as medications that would require a veterinarian’s prescription.

One owner notes that a few drops of Frankincense essential oil placed along the back of their dog’s neck helped keep him calm during the 4th!

Other popular anxiety-reducing medicines include Zesty Paws Calming Chews – which are natural dog treats formulated with L-Theanine to promote canine relaxation – and Rescue Remedy, which is a liquid formula of natural stress-relieving remedies that can be added to your pup’s food.

Details

  • A natural formula for anxiety – Zesty Paws Calming Bites are turkey flavored chewable supplements...
  • Features Suntheanine – These calming treats contain 30mg of Suntheanine per chew, which is a pure...
  • Helps with hyperactive & aggressive behavior – Each chew contains Thiamine and Organic Chamomile,...
  • Soothes anxieties – This Calming Bites supplement may encourage natural anti-anxiety relief for a...

10. Stay Home (If You Can)

Obviously, this one isn’t for everyone, but ultimately it’ll be best if you can stay home with your four-footer during 4th of July fireworks. They’ll feel much happier and safer with you by their side!

If you can’t be home for the 4th, consider grabbing a Furbo Dog Camera that will let you monitor your pooch’s progress remotely. Plus, with Furbo, you can dispense dog treats from the camera to distract and encourage your pup when things get scary!

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Here’s a snapshot of some of the essential stress-reducers we suggest taking advantage of to calm your pooch during the 4th!

anxiety-canine

Pictured: 1. Busy Buddy Kibble Nibbler 2. Thundershirt 3. Zesty Paws Calming Chews 4. Rescue Remedy 5. Furbo Dog Camera

Keeping Your Canine Safe on the 4th of July Infographic

We’ve created this handy infographic to help owners keep their dogs safe during 4th of July fireworks (these tips apply to New Years fireworks and any other situations involving fireworks as well).

Share this infographic to spread the word and keep canines safe this 4th!

dog fireworks infographic

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Do you have any other tips for keeping dogs calm during fireworks? Share your advice in the comments!

diy thundershirt
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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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11 Comments

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Michael LaRocca

We have a two-year-old Pit Bull and a seven-year-old “Poowawa” (Poodle/Chihuahua mix.) Our Pitti is terrified of fireworks and loud noises. We do many of the things you have suggested. One of the things we do is to lay on the floor with them on a big blanket with lots of pillows, cuddle, and watch TV together. This also seems to help. Happy 4th of July 2021. May all our fur-kids be safe and comforted. Blessings from… Michael, Kenny, and our fur-kids Barnaby and Pippin.

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Ben Team

Hey, Michael.
That sounds like a lovely idea! Hope it worked out well for your four-footers.
🙂

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Doreen Mann

Thank you for the info about keeping our dog calm during the fireworks . We have a few neighbors who don’t think about people’s pets or people who may have PTSD !!!

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Tersia zillingerth

Please cancel the fireworks. It is bad for all the animals and a waste of money that can be used for the poor and shelters.

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Bonnie

One of the most important things missing on the list is lighting. The safe zone area should be well lit. It is scary to be in the dark with the bright flashes outside.
The human should also stay in the same room as the safe zone. Be calm and confident when there are fireworks.

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Stephanie

Thanks for sharing! The tips are really useful. I think it’s advisable to desensitize the pup by playing sound recordings of fireworks during their playtime. A timely reward can make them associate the sound with positive experiences and reduce the fear of loud fireworks. My pup would hide under the couch once hearing the firework, which indicates that dogs love to stay in a limited space and feel security. A crate is one of the great options to protect the dogs from “dangers”, however, I prefer to get rid of his anxiety, which can avoid
separation anxiety in dogs as well. So, I intend to refer to the tips in this post and practice them before the fireworks of this year!

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Debbie Deal

I take my 7 yr. old rottie girl into the bedroom, turn down the lights, turn our tv to channel 856 which plays New Age Music, lay down beside her and rub her and talk to her. If the fireworks are in the distance, she will eventually lay down beside me, and go to sleep. Unfortunately, this year our neighbor who lives on the side beside my bedroom, was setting them off, and they sounded like bombs going off. It was more difficult to calm her down with that. In our neighborhood, it is a 3-night event, so it’s unpleasant for people as well as doggies ;(

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Kathleen Mueller

If you have the patience, and don’t mind staying home during the celebrations, bring your scaredy dog into a basement or other area that you can more or less seal off from the noise. Do a few loads of laundry, play some music, set up seating for yourself and bring a good book. This worked for my firework-phobic dogs for many years. My current dogs aren’t bothered by the fireworks, thank goodness!

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LB Johnson

I’ve found that a few drops of Frankincense essential oil along the back of the neck of my senior rescue Lab mix Abby really helps calm her down. She still doesn’t LIKE the noise but she doesn’t go hide in the very back of a closet and will stay out with us, close by, in the rest of the house.

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Meghan

Good tip – thanks for sharing!

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Beth Patterson

What a wonderful infographic! I hope this will help a lot of dogs stay safe this weekend!

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