Fireworks and Fearful dogs

Dogs that are ok with fireworks are the exception, not the norm.

Thank you to Maggie O’Brian, DVM of Rascal Animal Hospital for this guest article!


July 5th is said to be the busiest day of the year for animal shelters across the country. This is presumed to be due to the high volume of pets that escape the house in a state of panic during Fourth of July celebrations.

Here are some quick tips for keeping your dog safe this July 4th Holiday:

  1. Take your pet on a long walk or have a long session of fetch in the morning to reduce pent up energy later in the day.
  2. Close all the blinds in your house when fireworks are taking place. Some dogs are sensitive to any changes in the environment, including the flashing of fireworks outside.
  3. Use noise cancelling machines or box fans set on high in the room that your pet is most likely to spend their time. Blocking out sound will help reduce your pet’s awareness of the activities outside.
  4. Consider purchasing an Adaptil diffuser, collar, or spray. Adaptil is a pheromone that has been clinically proven to help reduce anxiety. (
  5. Make sure your home is escape proof. Do not leave screen doors or windows open that may allow your pet to escape. Avoid having your dog out in the yard- being in the yard provides no protection from the noises and lights of the night and can also facilitate an easier escape.
  6. Give your dog a distraction. You can fill a Kong with canned food and freeze it overnight for a long-lasting treat. You can also fill an empty toilet paper roll with kibble and plug the ends with peanut butter and freeze it for another time-consuming snack.
  7. If your pet has a history of anxiety with previous fireworks or with thunderstorms, you can talk with your veterinarian about medications to help reduce anxiety. There are medications ranging from supplements to prescription drugs that can help your pet cope with stressful events.
  8. Avoid bringing your dog to any of the events related to July 4th. Some dogs have been to firework shows or large, crowded cookouts and seem to do fine, but these dogs are the exception and not the norm. Most pets would most likely prefer to be in a safe space in your home, shielded from a loud, scary event that doesn’t make any sense to them.

With all the excitement of cookouts, fireworks, and time spent outside with friends and family, it is important to remember our four legged friends at home and set them up for a holiday as stress free as possible.


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