Dog fireworks anxiety is a common occurrence for dogs all across the country on the Fourth of July.
It doesn’t matter if your dog has anxiety or not, loud thunderous booms from fireworks are enough to frighten any dog. But your dog does not need to suffer.
So you may be asking, “what can I give my dog for fireworks anxiety“?
There are many effective ways to help calm a dog who is terrified of fireworks, thunder, and other traumatic events.
In this article, I want to share with you what has worked to calm down my dogs when the loud noises from fireworks start. Let’s begin!
Dogs and Fireworks – How To Help Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks
Fireworks happen twice a year. The worst day for dogs is on the 4th of July, followed by New Years.
July 5th is the busiest day for dog shelters. Knowing these two days gives you the advantage to PLAN AHEAD!
To help you, here are some tips to help keep your dog calm during fireworks:
Before The Fireworks Start
The very first thing you should decide on is whether or not you will be home during the fireworks.
If you plan to go see fireworks without your dog, please consider a Dog Sitter.
You don’t want to leave your dog home alone during fireworks, especially if you know your dog already has fireworks anxiety and is prone to separation anxiety.
Whether you stay with your dog (preferred) or have someone you trust to watch him, the following tips still apply.
At the start of the day here is what you need to do before the fireworks start lighting up the night sky:
1. Exercise Your Dog Early In The Day
Exercise is so important for you and your dog. Take your dog for a nice LONG run or walk. When you exercise early in the day, your dog will feel like taking a nap later.
Ideally, you want to exercise your dog a few hours before the fireworks start OR right before you plan to leave the house. This way you know your dog will want to cuddle up in his safe space and just chill with his favorite toy and or blanket.
2. Stock Up On Dog Calming Treats or Chew Toys
I’ve had great success with CBD oil calming treats. CBD takes some time to work but once it “kicks in” my dogs generally like to take a nap.
If you combine calming treats and exercise, your dog is going to be one chill pup when the night begins.
Pick up a supply of your dog’s favorite chew toys or bones. This will help distract your dog from the loud noises and keep him entertained for hours to come. If your dog is a really quick eater, make sure that chew toy will last at least 2 or 3 hours.
Keep Your Dog Safe Inside
It’s a fact, more dogs go missing on July 4th than any other time of the year. If you do plan to bring your dog out with you early in the day to have some barbeque fun, just make sure you keep a close eye on him and he has proper ID tags!
But to keep following along with this guide, here is what you should do after you’ve taken your dog out for a nice long walk and stocked up on essential calming treats and toys…
3. Create A Calming Environment In Your Home For Your Dog
One of my favorite ways to create a “zen room” is with essential oils.
Get yourself a good essential oil diffuser (there are so many to choose from here) and some lavender essential oil.
Lavender works great to calm down my dogs plus it smells amazing!
Close the blinds.
Keep your blinds and windows closed. The noise from fireworks is bad enough to scare your dog.
Keep the blinds closed so the bright lights don’t make the situation even worse.
4. Create A Safe Space Or Den
One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your dogs safe during 4th of July is to create a safe space or an “escape area” — this is somewhere your dog can go to and feel comfortable in his area.
Before the fireworks begin, you should already know what room or area your dog already loves, feels comfortable and safe in.
Not only does this help your dog cope with the anxiety from fireworks, but it also ensures that your dog won’t be outside at risk for being lost and disoriented.
Because you took your dog on a nice LONG walk or run earlier in the day, he is already tired and ready to calm down.
You don’t need to worry or feel guilty that he didn’t get a chance to go outside and enjoy the summer weather and you get to enjoy your holiday too.
Here are some ideas for you to create a safe space for your dog:
- Blankets – my dogs love blankets and burrowing in them. Dogs with anxiety really like blankets too. It gives them a sense of comfort and security. So make sure your dog’s favorite blanket is in his safe space.
- Make sure your dog has his favorite chew toy or bone to chew on while all the noise of the fireworks is happening.
- Calming treats – if you’ve given your dog a good dose of calming treats, he should be a lot calmer during the fireworks. But always have some on hand to reward him when he is feeling some anxiety.
- Keep the room cool/cold – I like to keep the A/C on colder than usual because it helps my dogs relax and cuddle in their favorite blankets.
- If you can create a nested area in the room that is like an extra room within a room, this can also give them a better sense of shelter. A blanket is the easiest way to do that but you can also build a crate and place the blanket over the kennel if your dog is used to that.
5. Play Calming Music For Your Dog
Many dogs love music. You can play some classical music or dog music for anxiety.
You can try this dog music CD “through a dogs ear” which a lot of dog owners have found helpful. Start the music right before the fireworks start and see how your dog responds.
He may just ignore it and chew on his toy but it could help when the loud noises start. Alternatively, I’ve included a video with 15 hours of dog music for you to try:
When The Fireworks Start
Once the fireworks start, it’s important you remain calm.
6. Try To Be The Calming Voice And Behave As Normal
Your dog looks up to you as their master and leader. If you remain calm and give a calming voice to your dog, this will help soothe the trauma they are experiencing and ease any fear and anxiety they may have.
I know this works for my dogs as I just give them a gentle reminder that “everything is going to be ok.” The last thing you want to do is show signs of fear or anxiety as this will make the situation worse.
7. Try Thunder shirts For Dogs
For dogs who have bad anxiety or shake when they hear fireworks, you may try a Thunder Shirt for Dogs.
They provide constant, gentle pressure to calm anxiety, fear, and over-excitement. Thunder shirts are great to have for fireworks, thunderstorms, separation anxiety, vet visits and other events that cause your dog anxiety.
If you don’t have a thunder shirt yet, here is a quick tip to make your own:
Ace bandage wrap for dog anxiety
Check out this video to learn how to make a DIY Dog Anxiety Wrap
Other tips and considerations to help calm down your dog during fireworks:
How to calm small dogs during fireworks
I have two small dogs and they are afraid of any loud noises like fireworks or even thunder.
Since fireworks make a loud thunderous boom, they immediately start barking and shaking in fear.
Small dogs seem to be more afraid of fireworks and loud noises, but some large breed dogs can suffer from firework anxiety too.
Here are some tips to help calm small dogs during fireworks:
- If you can be home during the fireworks, this is ideal. Just the sound of your voice is very helpful to calm fears in your dog and tell them “everything is going to be ok, it’s ok just some fireworks” and let them cuddle up to you if they feel the need to be protected.
- Set aside your anxiety too – try to behave as normal like everything is going to be ok. Dogs will sense your calmness and this will help them feel confident that everything is ok.
- Calming treats – you already know there’s going to be fireworks on July 4th, so plan ahead. Make sure you have some good calming treats that you know work. Ideally CDB oil treats. I’ve found CBD to be very helpful for anxious dogs. My beagle mix is scared of everything. CBD takes the edge off for her.
- Exercise your dog early in the day before the fireworks begin. Your dog will be tired later and chances are he may just want to calm down and go to sleep when the fireworks begin.
What about dog ear muffs or dog ear plugs for fireworks?
Happy Hoodie is a specialized ear muff you can try for your dog. It provides gentle compression to reduce noises and creates a swaddling effect that calms and comforts your dog. It’s soft and gentle.
Dog sedatives for fireworks
If you have a dog with severe anxiety who is terrified of fireworks, you may want to consider a safe sedative.
Benadryl for dogs – is it safe to give for fireworks anxiety?
I’ve known some dog owners to use Benadryl but I haven’t personally used it on my dogs.
According to Dr. Danel Grimmett, a veterinarian with Sunset Veterinary Clinic in Edmond, Okla, Benadryl is often used for dogs that have mild anxiety during thunderstorms or motion sickness in the car.
It is a relatively save sedative to give your dog, but please contact your vet before considering giving the right dosage to him.
Plan ahead. Knowing the Fourth of July is the worst time of the year for dogs, you now have common-sense tips to help ease the trauma and anxiety associated with dog fireworks anxiety.
If you plan accordingly and take your dog for a nice walk outside before the fireworks start, stock up on your favorite calming treats, create a safe and calming room in your home, your dog should do just fine when the fireworks start.
I hope this list of tips to help keep your dog calm, even if your dog is home alone during fireworks, will help you and your pooch enjoy this special holiday.