How to Calm Your Dog For Fireworks

Tips to Soothe Your Dog During Fireworks & Celebrations

By Tess Marty & Rianna Young

The Fourth of July is coming up, and that means barbecues, bonfires, poolside drinks, and most importantly for pets, fireworks. For many pet parents, this holiday brings less celebration and more stress. Amid the festivities for humans, many pets are distraught over the loud bangs and bright lights of fireworks.  

The unfortunate truth is that, according to the Pet Amber Alert and national statistics, more pets go missing on the 4th of July than any other holiday. Of the 7.6 million pets lost each year, the Fourth of July and surrounding days sees the largest influx of lost pets, around 30% more. July 5th is the busiest day for shelters, and only 26% of lost dogs are successfully returned to their parents. 

Did you know, July 5th is the busiest day for animal shelters in the US due to dogs running away?

Loud noises can cause even less sensitive pets to bolt in search of a place to hide. Many pet parents think it could never happen to them, or that their dog wouldn’t run away from home, but instinctively, they may be scared enough! 

Preparing your pets for fireworks is key to ensuring their safety on July 4th. 

This Independence Day, Happy Hounds and NYC expert dog trainer Tess Marty are giving some tips on how to keep your dog chill and relaxed so that everyone can enjoy the celebration safely. 

Table of contents:

  • Why Are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks
  • Keys to Prepping Your Pets
  • Providing A Safe Space
  • Training & Soothing
  • Calm Pets During Cookouts and Parties
  • Using CBD & Calming Supplements 

Why Are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks?

Parents of anxious pets know the tremendous effort it takes to keep them calm during fireworks and thunder. While loud noises can present a challenge, fireworks are a unique monster because they are typically unpredictable, intense, and can be quite jarring for most pets.

For both dogs and cats, it is instinctual to run or hide when something scary is happening. The flight response can kick in when they hear fireworks, yelling, or if they see something anxiety-provoking like the bright lights. As much as you may want to spend the holiday with your pets, they may not share the same feelings about the day. In order to relieve their stress during July 4th, we have laid out the best tips and tricks to help you prepare your pets. 

Preparing Your Pets for Fireworks:

As hard as it is to give real-world practice during a fireworks display, there are steps you can take to ensure your dog enjoys the 4th without all the stress. 

Regardless of what you do to prepare your pet, these six tips will help to ensure their safety for independence day:

  1. Tagged & Chipped: make sure their information is correct if their microchip is scanned (this is not automatic!) and keep a breakaway collar with a legible name tag with your current  information. 
  2. Leash Them Up: when outdoors if you’re bringing your dog to a cookout or bonfire, keep them on leash even if they have reliable recall. 
  3. GPS Tracking: If your dog has history of running during fireworks, consider AirTag or GPS collar like Fi for in-the-moment updates
  4. Update Their Vaccines: Make sure your pets are up to date on annual vaccines, so they will be protected in case they get lost. 
  5. Exercise: Take your dog for a vigorous run before the festivities to help them physically relax. 
  6. Soothe: Set them in a comfy room with their favorite toys and enrichment puzzlesAdding CBD to their dinner in drops or treats can be extremely helpful. 
Depending where you live, celebrations can begin prior to July 4th. From sporadic fireworks and loud music to parties and large gatherings—these sounds can trigger your dog’s anxiety and put them on edge. 


It is important to create a safe environment for your cat or dog to retreat to, and is an excellent way to keep them from having a terrible holiday or from getting long-term anxiety. If you haven’t already, microchip your pet and make sure their information is correct if scanned.

On top of their microchip, keep a breakaway collar on with a legible name tag with your information, and consider an AirTag or GPS tracker, especially if they’re joining you at a cookout. You’ll want to develop a detailed plan to keep them secure during festivities, regardless of what your holiday entails.

Routine is Key For Calm Pets

Start Before Fireworks Begin

Fireworks aren’t the easiest thing to desensitize your dog or cat to. They can be sporadic, not timed like thunder after lightning. Some are louder and make a bang, others crackle and fizz. It can seem like there’s nothing you can do, but you can begin to desensitize your dog or cat to those scary sounds in a couple of ways. Desensitization techniques before scary events can help with anxiety long-term, especially if utilized before the event. 

Gradually expose them to recordings of fireworks at low volumes, increasing the intensity over time. Pair these sounds with rewards to create positive associations and alleviate fear responses. There are many videos on YouTube of loud noises to play for your dog, like this. Start off softly and pair the noise with high value treats right as the sounds are occurring. Start softly and treat even for sounds they aren’t reacting to. You want to reward them for their bravery! As your dog gets more comfortable, you can increase the volume. 

While your dog may not be spooked by the sound of the video, it still creates a positive association with loud noises and their favorite treats. Keep this up during the real thing! It may be best to stay with your pet during fireworks at night, or to hire a friend or sitter for the evening so they have some company.  


Our dogs like to feel secure. Knowing that they are taken care of helps to ease their anxiety. Think back on how your parents helped you through scary situations. Calming them during holidays like Juneteenth, the 4th of July, and New Year’s are essential for their safety. Fireworks, large crowds, and loud noises or cheering can trigger most dogs, not to mention if you pet already experiences anxiety. 

Obviously, if you could stop the sound of fireworks for your dog, you would. The good thing is, though, we can usually prepare for them for a calmer experience ahead of time. 

Creating a Safe Space for Pets

Designate a quiet, comfortable area where your pet can retreat during fireworks displays. Give them a place like a cozy bed, crate, or under a bed to sneak off to. Make sure they have a hiding place, as hiding is an instinctual response to fear.

Your dog, like all animals and humans alike, wants to feel secure during scary situation. Knowing that they are taken care of helps to ease their anxiety.


Calming them during holidays like Juneteenth, the 4th of July, and New Year’s are essential for their safety. Fireworks, large crowds, and loud noises or cheering can trigger most dogs, not to mention if you pet already experiences anxiety. Of course, if you could stop the sound of fireworks for your dog, you would. The good thing is, though, we can usually prepare for them for a calmer experience ahead of time. 

Playing soothing music can be extremely helpful in drowning out loud noises, and providing them with their favorite toys or a kong with something to lick can help them feel a sense of normalcy. 

Dark Rooms & Escape Routes 

Keeping them in a dark or quiet room can minimize visual stimulation. By ensuring and ensure all windows and doors are securely closed and locked. This will help reduce the noise and visual impact of the fireworks.

Contrary to what some humans feel, our pets don’t always need the light left on. It may be more comfortable to have a dark space, and will also naturally promote relaxed behavior. 

Distracting Your Dog During July 4th

When firework displays are underway, you can try to calm your dog down by petting or brushing them (if they like that!) and relax with them. Don’t make a huge fuss, but petting and watching some TV with them will help them realize that this is nothing to be afraid of. A soothing snug wrap can help as well, by swaddling your dog like a baby. 

Licking is a soothing activity for dogs, so consider using a Kong or a LickiMat for them to keep their minds occupied. Freezing some yogurt with a boosting CBD tincture can help keep your dog calm even after you leave and throughout the entirety of their experience. 

Ear muffs or sound-canceling devices can be helpful in addition to a relaxing treat like the Calm + Joint Bacon strips. The Calm + Joint treats add the extra benefit of supporting achy joints. Senior dogs can have increased anxiety over time sometimes related to discomfort in joints, so providing them with added joint support can help their overall experience. 

How To Use CBD For Dogs During Fireworks

Giving your cat or dog CBD treats beforehand can be paired with CBD tinctures on a lick mat to keep them calm throughout the day. Introducing calming treats a couple days before fireworks are expected to begin around your area can also help relax your pet and associate the space with positive experiences, especially if they’re left alone for the day to reduce separation anxiety.

Going into the situation already feeling more calm will likely help them to settle throughout the experience. If your dog is anxious around loud noises and fireworks, using CBD treats or oil drops before the display promotes calm and helps to relieve the stress of the booms and blasts that come with the holiday. 

Calming supplements for dogs and cats are a great tool to reduce anxiety during stressful situations. While it won’t entirely fix your pet’s anxiety, it can help ease their minds enough to focus on other things, like their treats or desensitization training – which will keep them too busy to worry about the fireworks outside!

Using CBD vs Puppy Prozac for Fireworks

Oftentimes, dogs are prescribed Puppy Prozac or over the counter Children’s Benadryl for general anxiety. SSRIs for dogs like Prozac often take weeks to build up in the system and will be less helpful for spur of the moment calming when fireworks and anxiety-inducing celebrations begin.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is safe and perfect for short-term or momentary anxiety without the long drawn out process of prescriptions or side effects of heavy sedatives.

For momentary or specific situations like a fear of loud noises or fireworks, it is recommended to use natural supplements with immediate effect. Happy Hounds Calm Drops are an easy and quick way to alleviate stress and reactivity without the unwanted side effects and lengthy on-set of prescription medication. 

The Benefits of CBD for Anxious Pets


 Incorporating CBD dog treats and oil drops treats into your pet's routine leading up to and during the 4th of July can provide a sense of calm and relaxation, making the experience more manageable for them. Exercising and providing routine for your dog is incredibly important. Tiring them out can help them relax, whether they are staying home alone or if you’re there to reassure them. 

It’s recommended to give calming treats at least an hour before you expect fireworks to start, and boosting that with a tincture on a lick ma t or kong will keep your dog or cat calm throughout the evening.

Pet Safety During Cookouts and Parties

With cookouts and parties being common on the 4th of July, it's essential to set clear guidelines for guests regarding pet safety. Remind friends and family not to feed your pet any potentially harmful foods and to supervise interactions closely. Tell guests which foods are and aren’t safe, and consider bringing some of your own treats to give instead if people can’t help themselves.

Be proactive, as many non-dog owners may give into begging, or leave food in easy-to-reach places. It’s our job (not the guests’!) to keep our pets safe if we are bringing them along for the celebration! 

As night draws near, be extra cautious particularly around fireworks. Even pets who typically aren't bothered by loud noises can become anxious in the midst of celebrations. There are a lot of noises and visuals that our pets may not be used to.

Make sure your pet is well away from where the fireworks are being set off to keep them from getting too curious. It may be beneficial to have a backup handler for the day that you can trust. 

Create Calm Celebrations for Your Pets

Holidays like Juneteenth, the 4th of July, and New Year’s are firework-heavy celebrations. Being ready with some tools under your belt can not only ease anxiety, but possibly keep your dog or cat from getting lost or hurt.


Your proactive measures can ensure that your pets are safe, calm, and happy for many holidays to come!  Exercising your dog, creating a safe space, closing windows, and adding calming agents before firework-heavy celebrations helps them physically and mentally relax so you both can enjoy the holidays, together.

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