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Summer Fireworks and Your Dog

How to Comfort your Dog during July 4th Celebrations 

July 1, 2020

We’ve all seen the recent news stories that neighborhood firework use has increased significantly this year. And with Independence Day right around the corner, that’s sure to continue throughout the week. While we may think fireworks are a sight to see, they can cause real anxiety for our four-legged friends.

Five Tips for a Barking Good July 4th Celebration

Whether it’s the smell, noise or flashes of light from fireworks, understanding exactly what makes your dog anxious or afraid is tough to pinpoint. Regardless of the cause, comforting your dog is easier than you may think. Try these five simple steps. (Note: these are also great tips to use if your dog is frightened by thunderstorms.)

1. Keep your dog away from fireworks

This might seem obvious, but if your dog doesn’t react well to fireworks, taking them to a fireworks display or having your dog outside while you’re lighting sparklers in the backyard is the last thing you want to do. Keeping your dog inside the evening of July 4th is the best idea.

2. Exercise, exercise, exercise

We humans aren’t the only ones who benefit from a little extra exercise. Be sure to take your dog for a long walk before nightfall. This gives your pup a chance to use up some energy and relax before the fireworks start. But make sure he or she is secure on their leash before your walk, just in case you encounter pre-dusk sparklers that might startle your pup.

3. Desensitize your dog to firework sounds

If you know, or suspect, your dog might become unnerved at the sound of fireworks, consider softly playing sounds of fireworks for a few days before the holiday. This gives your dog a chance to get used to the sounds – and hopefully reduce their anxiety.

4. Establish a puppy safe zone. 

Create a safe, cozy space for your dog inside your home. Place your dog’s food and water bowls plus a few of his favorite toys in a separate space in your home – ideally away from windows and doors. Don’t forget to place their dog bed and favorite cuddle blanket in the room too. If there is a radio or television in your puppy’s safe zone, consider tuning it to his/her favorite station to offer a bit of white noise for the evening.

5. Show your dog some love

If you can, stay home with your furry family member(s) on Independence Day. This ensures you’re there and able to comfort your dog should the sound of fireworks upset him or her. Should this happen, gently cuddle your dog – comforting them with long, slow, firm petting strokes. And remember to remain calm yourself. Your dog is very attune to your emotions and will follow your lead.


Make Sure Your Dog’s Information is Current

Finally, some data suggests that the July 4th holiday is the most common time for dogs to run away, likely due to the increase in outdoor activity and the anxiety fireworks can cause your pup. With this in mind, make sure the information on your pet’s collar or microchip is current to ensure a better chance to bring him or her home if they bolt during firework celebrations.

Everyone at Alden’s Kennels wishes you and your pets a safe and happy Independence Day.