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Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm During 4th of July Fireworks

Posted by Jennifer Wicklund, DVM on

The July 4 holiday is right around the corner. People are busy preparing for picnics, parades, barbecues, road trips, get-togethers and, of course, fireworks. While you consider your plans for the big weekend, it is worth remembering that fireworks and other loud noises can make dogs anxious and uncomfortable.

The big bangs and sparkly lights may be exciting to humans but they can cause dogs to run away, jump through windows or over backyard fences; dogs may cower or engage in repetitive, nervous activity that leads to injury. Not surprisingly, animal shelters and veterinarians regularly receive more reports of missing dogs and dog injuries on July 4 than any other day of the year.

So, what can you do to protect your bestie from all the ruckus? Here are a few smart tips to make sure everyone stays safe and secure this holiday.

Top July 4 Dog Safety Tips 

  • Keep your dog indoors during the holiday celebrations, particularly if your neighbors are likely to set off fireworks nearby or if you live near a public fireworks event. Find a quiet room, preferably one without windows, and keep your dog there for the evening. Or consider putting your dog in an escape-proof crate. He or she will likely still be anxious once the noise begins, but at least you have removed the possibility of your dog bolting from your yard and racing down the street.   

  • Supervise your dog. Even if you've secured your dog in a quiet indoor room, check in occasionally to confirm all is well and to comfort your dog if the commotion outside is making him or her nervous.

  • Keep your dog away from any fireworks, glow stickers or sparklers that you have around the house for personal use. If you are lighting fireworks in the backyard, remember that dogs are trained to fetch. You don't want your four-legged friend to fetch a lit firecracker that explodes in his or her mouth. 

  • Make sure your dog is wearing up-to-date identification tags with your contact information. If your dog does run away, you want to make it as easy as possible for local authorities or neighbors to contact you.

  • If you haven't already, get your dog microchipped. This is a simple procedure that allows rescue shelters and other organizations to scan the chip for the owner's contact information. And, if your dog is microchipped, make sure that your contact information is up-to-date.

  • Consider sedatives if nothing else works. Despite our best efforts, some dogs just don't react well to loud noises. If that sounds like your dog, you may want to consult your veterinarian about sedatives. There are safe options available that will keep your pet reasonably calm and manageable during the loudest periods. 

With just a little bit of preparation and a couple of preventative measures, your dog should be able to weather the July 4 festivities without any major issues. 

Enjoy the holiday!