How to Help Dogs Scared of Fireworks This 4th of July

Independence Day consists of the smell of burgers and hotdogs on the grill, the sweet taste of a cold beverage on a hot July day, the sight of beautiful arrays of color across the night sky, and, for some, the sound of your pooch whining and barking because of the loud booms. This 4th of July, celebrate America’s birthday in a way that makes everyone happy, including dogs scared of fireworks.

Read on to learn more about why your pooch may be afraid of the fireworks, as well as how to help a dog scared of fireworks by making them feel safe and comfortable over the howliday weekend.

Dogs and fireworks on the 4th of July

Why Exactly is My Dog So Scared of Fireworks?

Before you can learn how to help a dog scared of fireworks, you need to know where their fear comes from. There are a handful of reasons why your beloved fur child may be scared of fireworks and other loud noises, such as thunderstorms. 

dog with large upright ears

Reason #1: Your Dog’s Hearing is Four Times More Powerful than Yours

Our furbabies are amazing creatures. From wide-ranging personalities to keenly sensitive senses, your woof is truly a special being. Your dog’s hearing is especially impressive. Dogs can hear up to four times as far as us hoomans and can even hear higher-pitched sounds that are not audible to our own ears.

It’s no wonder that hearing the sound of the fireworks four times as loud as we hear them can give your sweet pooch a scare!

dogs on the 4th of July

Reason #2: Dogs Don’t Have Any Context for 4th of July Fireworks

Us two-legged hoomans look forward to the 4th of July as soon as Memorial Day rolls over, and often even earlier. We make plans weeks in advance to celebrate this boisterous holiday. However, to our four-legged counterparts, this is just another day in the life of a pampered pooch. This day of seemingly random, loud noises can catch our pups off-guard and increase their anxiety. 

dog barks at loud noises

Reason #3: Fireworks Ignite the Fight or Flight Response in Dogs

The 4th of July is, sadly, a day that many dogs go missing. This is because the loud, unexpected and random bangs trigger their fight or flight response. Dogs scared of fireworks can react in different ways, so it’s important to be aware of how your pooch will respond. Your dog may either quiver in a safe corner, bark back at the loud noises or he or she may try to run from the eardrum-rumbling fireworks display.

8 Effective Ways to Calm Dogs Scared of Fireworks

Every pooch is different, so there are a variety of ways to calm dogs scared of fireworks and other loud noises. Take the time to find what works best for your four-legged friend and make the 4th of July a day of fun for every hooman and man’s best friend.

Desensitize your dog to fireworks

#1: Desensitize Your Dog Before the 4th of July

Wondering how to help a dog scared of fireworks? Try working with your pooch leading up to the anticipated firework show or other loud noises by using this YouTube video. The idea is to help him or her remain calm during recordings of fireworks initially played at a low volume. Give him or her treats as he or she remains calm. Gradually increase the volume of the recording or lower it if your pooch becomes anxious. Do this for a little bit each day with plenty of praise and treats. You can try other videos with white noise to help keep your pooch calm when the fireworks start.

Dog at Doggie Daycare at Hounds Lounge in North Little Rock

#2: Exercise Your Pooch Earlier in the Day

On the day of July 4th, don’t forget to help your pooch run off any pent up energy before the big show begins. Take your furbabe on a walk, to the dog park, to doggie daycare at Hounds Lounge or any of their favorite pant-inducing activities. This will help them use up their energy before the fireworks begin and help facilitate a more relaxed July 4th evening for dogs scared of fireworks.

Keep ypur dog inside during fireworks

#3: Keep Your Pooch Inside During the Fireworks Show

We know, we want to do everything with our beloved fur children, too. However, we also want to avoid any heartbreaks this 4th of July by keeping our dogs scared of fireworks securely inside. Make sure to take your dog out to potty before the display gets going and make a plan with the family to ensure your pooch stays inside. Keeping your four-legged friend in a furrmiliar environment will help them feel safe.

#4: Make Sure They Are Securely Wearing Their Collar and Tags

While we recommend keeping our fur babies inside on the evening of the Fourth, it’s very important to make sure that they are wearing their collar and tags before the fireworks begin. Accidents can happen, so just in case your beloved fur child manages to get outside, be prepared by making sure their collar fits well (the collar should be snug but you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your woof’s neck) and tag information is up-to-date. You don’t want to risk losing your woof because of a firework phobia.

dog in safe space during fireworks show

#5: Create a Safe Space for Your Pooch Inside

If your dog tends to be quite anxious, be sure to put a comfortable, safe space together before the fireworks start to boom. Keep your dog in an interior room with curtains or blinds closed. Try to keep as much sound and flashing light out of this room as possible.

If your pooch is crate trained, you can put them in their crate with a blanket over it for an added sense of security. Making sure they have all their favorite toys, beds, towels or blankets close by is an easy way to help dogs scared of fireworks.

keep your dog calm during July 4th

#6: Play Calming Music for Dogs Scared of Fireworks

While dogs may not be able to follow harmonies and rhythms, there is something to playing soothing music for your dog during a fireworks show or thunderstorm. How to help a dog scared of fireworks can be as simple as playing a calming tune. According to YouTube, we recommend playing this 10-hour soothing music compilation with desensitizing sounds to soothe and maybe even put your pooch to sleep!

#7: Cover Him or Her with a Weighted Blanket or Compression Vest

A weighted blanket or a compression vest, such as a ThunderShirt, can help calm your dog during a fireworks show by applying gentle pressure to reduce anxiety and tension. These also work for thunderstorms and other loud noises. If you don’t have a weighted blanket or compression vest, try using a heavy quilt or other soft covering.

#7: Cover Him or Her with a Weighted Blanket or Compression Vest

A weighted blanket or a compression vest, such as a ThunderShirt, can help calm your dog during a fireworks show by applying gentle pressure to reduce anxiety and tension. These also work for thunderstorms and other loud noises. If you don’t have a weighted blanket or compression vest, try using a heavy quilt or other soft covering.

Dog with blanket during thunderstorm

#8 Talk to Your Vet About to How to Help a Dog Scared of Fireworks

The best hooman to ask about your pet is your local veterinarian. They can recommend different sleep aids, such as Melatonin, dog-appeasing pheromones and other calming aids for Anxiety Relief. Be sure to ask the vet which aid would be best for your pooch. Do not give your pet a sleeping aid intended for hoomans unless approved by your veterinarian. Here are some Sleeping Pills for Dogs to ask your vet about to improve your dog’s experience on this boisterous holiday.

The tips listed above are all methods of how to help a dog scared of fireworks. These tips can help keep your four-legged friend calm and comfortable during thunderstorms and around other loud sounds, including firearms. It’s good for Fido to face his fears, but remember to hold his paw throughout the process!

Hounds Lounge Offers Extra Help

Maybe you’re off to the lake this weekend or visiting a relative’s home. Our team at Hounds Lounge hopes you have a safe and happy weekend! Should you need either a place to help your dog run off some energy while you prepare for your festive holiday or you’re going out of town and are feeling concerned about your fur baby, Hounds Lounge is here to help all dogs scared of fireworks.

We’ll be open all holiday weekend, offering doggie daycare, dog boarding services and 24-hour staff. Please reach out to us with any additional questions you may have.

Happy 4th of July!