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Dog holding American flag in mouth for fourth of July celebrations

The essentials

  • Make a plan now — Once your dog becomes stressed, it’s very difficult to calm them down. Making a game plan for fireworks season well before it arrives will help you and your dog get through it with ease.
  • Talk to your vet — For particularly anxious pups that need medication, your veterinarian can help you decide how to keep a dog calm during fireworks. But, don’t wait until the last minute! Vet offices get swamped with calls related to dogs and fireworks.
  • Better too much than not enough — Fireworks season extends for a few days before and after the Fourth of July in many locations. Make sure you have enough supplies to help your dog through the entire event.

With the warmer weather coming, fun adventures are ahead for you and your dog. But the Fourth of July might be challenging if your dog is afraid of fireworks. While fireworks are enjoyable for us, they can cause anxiety for our pets.

Noise phobia is a common problem for our four-legged friends. According to one study , “Companion dogs commonly experience states of anxiety, fears, and phobias. Separation anxiety and noise aversions… are especially prevalent.” 

You may not be able to prepare for every storm, but you can get ready before the Fourth of July fireworks. We’ve gathered some information to help you have a calm and safe holiday around dogs and fireworks.

Symptoms of noise anxiety in dogs

  • Ears back
  • Licking lips
  • Yawning
  • Wide pupils/eye whites showing
  • Restlessness/pacing
  • Excessive barking, whining, etc.
  • Refusing to go outside
  • Escape attempts
  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Hiding (under bed, blankets, etc.)
  • Vomiting
  • Destructive behavior
  • Attention-seeking/clingy behavior
  • Seizures (A rare but possible side effect of overstimulation
  • Urinating/Defecating inside


9 steps for how to keep a dog safe during fireworks

1. Plan ahead

Loud bangs and lots of noise are all normal for the Fourth. But, changes in your dog’s environment amplify their anxiety. If you don’t have to host, we recommend against it. If you do, you can create a haven and follow other safety steps to keep your pet as calm as possible.

Taking steps to reduce your dog’s reaction to fireworks can help them stay calm. Waiting until the last minute can result in disaster. Do the research and plan well before the event.

2. Stay calm

Keeping your dog calm during fireworks means you must stay calm, too. Dogs recognize and feed off of human emotions to connect with us. If you’re anxious about them panicking, they’ll sense your distress and become upset as well. 

3. Talk to your vet

Your vet can provide tailored help in preparing your dogs for Fourth of July events or loud noises. Your vet may prescribe medication to ease your dog’s anxiety. They may also have tips on creating a calming environment for your pet.

Some drug-free options include:

  • Calming treats. These can be great to have on hand. Specialized veterinary formulas, like Solloquin, may help. Over-the-counter versions may also be useful.
  • Pheromones. Pheromone collars and other products can help calm your dog.
  • Natural remedies. Rescue Remedy is one trusted brand. However, some natural remedies for calming dogs include essential oils, which may not be safe for your pet. Use with caution.

Every pet's situation and anxiety are different, as is their response to treatments. That is why a team approach with a veterinarian to understanding your pet and what may or may not work for them is so important.

Shelly Wyatt


🚨When it comes to medication, don’t give your dog any human medication. Instead, speak to your vet to learn your options. Many pet-safe prescription medications exist for these situations. Always talk to your vet before giving or applying any medication, supplements, etc.

4. Use a pressure wrap or vest

Vests and wraps work by applying gentle pressure — like a hug to help your dog stay calm and grounded. Many even have patches on them that you can spray with pheromones for an extra chilling effect. 

Make sure to choose the right size and test it on your dog so they can get used to it before any triggering events. ThunderShirt and others make similar calming products.

5. Play calming music

Use distractions to prevent your dog from getting anxious during fireworks. Playing soothing music, white noise, or calming TV/radio shows can help ease stress. Dogs have sensitive hearing, so you may not completely mask the noise. Increasing the volume of calming sounds can be beneficial.

6. A tired dog is a calm dog

Tiring out your dog before fireworks can help them relax instead of getting anxious. Take them for a long walk or play with their favorite toys. This allows them to release stress and energy before the fireworks start.

This will also mean that you’ll likely be able to avoid any fireworks, as they normally start in the early evening. It’s a good idea to keep your dog on a leash and a well-fitting collar in case any fireworks do go off whilst you’re on your walk.

7. Create a safe space

Providing a cozy spot for your dog to relax during the Fourth of July fireworks can help ease their anxiety. If your dog enjoys their kennel, give them treats and toys inside to make them feel safe. Close all windows and doors, and cover windows to block out flashing lights.

8. Lead by example 

Dogs can learn from each other. So, having your dog spend time with a calm friend can help them stay calm in noisy situations. This can also help them remain calm around noise in the future. 

But, it’s important to see how your dog reacts to the other dog before leaving them alone. Not all dogs like being around others.

9. Remember, your dog’s frightened

Last but not least try to keep in mind that noise aversion or noise phobia is not your dog’s fault. They’re terrified.  Dogs don’t understand fireworks because they make a very unnatural sound. 

Getting angry or upset with them will not help the situation. Your dog looks to you for guidance, so reassure them and try your best to make a bad situation better.

How to keep a dog safe during fireworks

Microchip your pet — The Fourth of July is the number one day for lost pets in the US.  Getting your pet microchipped is a great way to ensure they’ll make it back to you should they become lost. Even if their collar and tags fall off, veterinary/shelter professionals can scan them for a chip. Make sure to keep the registration current and include a backup or emergency contact. 

Sign up for FidoAlertThis ensures quick notification if your pet goes missing during the festivities. Rescuers scan the QR code on the tag and notify you via text of your dog’s location.

Stay indoors — This may seem like a no-brainer, but keeping your dog inside during fireworks can help them stay calm and prevent an escape.

Crate your dog — If your dog’s prone to destructive behavior or escape, creating a safe space in their crate or kennel can help. Dogs are den animals. They often feel safe and secure in an enclosed space. 

Desensitize your dog to fireworks

Part of keeping a dog calm during fireworks involves desensitizing them to the noise. This means getting them used to the noise so that it doesn’t cause fear and anxiety. 

“Bang training” is the common name for desensitizing a hunting dog to the sound of gunfire. When it comes to dogs and fireworks, the basic principle is the same. Teach the dog that loud noises don’t mean bad things. 

You can start by playing your dog’s favorite game, like fetch or tug. Have someone else bang a metal spoon on a pan. When your dog reacts, distract them with the toy and comfort them. Make a big deal about the distraction.

The goal is to get them to transition from reactive behavior to ignoring the sound. You can up the sound level by banging two pans together, throwing a heavy book onto the floor, etc. Repetition is key. Only use guns for this training if you’re a professional shooting blanks.

The most important takeaway on how to keep a dog calm during fireworks is to make a solid plan. Waiting until the last minute won’t do you or your dog any good. Dogs and fireworks don’t usually mix, but preparation allows you both to enjoy the holiday in peace. Remember the signs of noise anxiety in dogs and be sure to ask your vet for help.

Frequently asked questions

Can I give my dog Benadryl for fireworks?

Many sources say it’s OK to give Benadryl, but we always recommend asking your vet first. Our vet team confirms the main use of Benadryl is to address allergies in dogs. An amount that would cause sedation would likely harm your pet. Some dogs become more excited with Benadryl, as well.

Should I let my dog sleep with me during fireworks?

This depends on your dog’s normal routine. If they normally sleep with you, then sure. If your dog is used to sleeping in a kennel or a specific spot, they might prefer sticking to their routine. You can always try allowing your dog to sleep with you even if they don’t usually and see if they settle down a bit better. 

How do you train a dog to ignore fireworks?

As we discussed earlier, Desensitization and counterconditioning are the best ways to train your dog to ignore fireworks. It takes time and patience, but the results are well worth the work.

What is best to calm dogs during fireworks?

This will depend on your dog. Each dog is an individual and may need different methods than another dog. Read through our steps above and consult your vet for more advice.

Why are dogs afraid of fireworks?

Dogs react to unfamiliar sights and sounds by fighting or flight. Because they feel threatened, their instincts drive them to defend themselves or escape. Since most dogs can’t identify the source of the noise, they choose flight. Being unable to escape the noise leads to stress and anxiety. Being prepared and desensitizing your pet can help when it comes to dogs and fireworks.