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Dogs, Quick Tips

How to Handle Firework Fear

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

How to Handle Firework Fear, brown dog holding American flag in front of white fireplace with american flag bunting banner

On paper, the traditional activities for the Fourth of July probably sound pretty great to your dog. They get to spend the day with friends and family (more people means more hands for belly rubs and ear scratches!), play yard games, and even stand a pretty good chance at snatching a fallen hotdog or a low-lying burger from a child’s plate. Life is pretty good for our four-legged friends on the Fourth… until the sun sets, that is.

Many dogs struggle with fear around fireworks. The loud noises coupled with the sky-illuminating brightness can be enough to cause some serious stress for your pup. If your dog is part of the pooch population who would prefer to spend Independence Day cowered in their kennel, we’ve got some handy tips.

How to Handle Firework Fear

Prepare for the night

Make time earlier in the day to get your dog out for exercise. Pent-up energy combined with fear is a recipe for disaster. Physical movement is a great way to combat stress, and getting your dog out for a walk or a run, or a rambunctious game of fetch may ensure that they are worn out and ready for rest later in the evening.


If an evening fireworks show is not on your dog’s list of ideal ways to celebrate the holiday, it’s best to keep them at home in their familiar environment. Providing them with a place that is safe and calming is one of the most loving things you can do for your pup. This space should include the basics (food and water, bedding, a few favorite toys), of course, but for dogs who are especially fearful of fireworks, it will take a few extras to take the calm-level up a notch. Blackout curtain panels will help block the lights, and a loud sound machine (or even a radio tuned to a station with static) can help drown out some of the noise. Puzzle toys containing tasty treats can make for a welcome distraction to keep nervous pups occupied.

Additional calming agents

In addition to providing your pooch with a safe and calm environment, there are other steps you can take to give them a calm Fourth. Calming support chewables are available especially for stressful situations just like this. There is also evidence to support the use of essential oils for calming purposes with canines. You have to be careful to use them correctly and in the right quantity, though- which is why we really like these calming collars (they also make scented disks that you can attach to your pup’s regular collar). They’re specially designed for dogs and cats, and safe when used as directed. Always consult your veterinarian before using something new with your dog.

Statistics show that the number of missing pets spikes on the Fourth of July. Stress and fear can cause the most even-tempered dog to act irrationally and run away. Take a few minutes to make sure your pet’s identification information is up to date with your current address and phone number, and if they’re microchipped, take them in to make sure that their chip is still functioning properly.

We hope you all have a paws-itively safe and happy Fourth of July!

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