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9 Tips for Helping a Dog That's Scared of Fireworks

Fireworks might be awe-inspiring for some people, but many dogs find the sound and spectacle terrifying. Fireworks anxiety in dogs can leave your pets in a panicked state. Here are nine tips to help reduce your dog’s fireworks anxiety and keep them calm during these noisy events.

1. Use Sound Training to Relieve Dog Fireworks Anxiety

You can help dogs that are afraid of fireworks learn to cope with them by setting up training sessions throughout the year. Start by playing fireworks sound effects at a very low volume while giving your dog small, tasty treats and lots of praise when they remain calm. Gradually increase the volume over time, ensuring your dog stays comfortable and relaxed. This method can desensitize your pet to the noise of fireworks.

2. Try a Dog Anxiety Vest

Much like swaddling helps calm infants, a snug garment that puts gentle pressure on your dog’s torso can reduce fireworks anxiety. Get your dog used to wearing a pressure wrap, such as a dog anxiety vest, before fireworks events. This helps your dog feel comfortable with the garment by the time the fireworks begin.

3. Schedule a Pre-Fireworks Workout

Going for a long hike or spending time playing with pals during the day will help wear out your dog before the fireworks begin. A dog that’s mentally and physically exhausted might be less likely to react to fireworks, so plan a day of fun activities that will leave your dog ready for a snooze.

4. Schedule Meals and Potty Time Early

It’s important to time your dog’s dinner and potty trips well in advance of nightfall since fireworks typically start as soon as the sun sets. Give your dog enough time to finish their dinner, digest, and go potty before the noise begins so they’re not forced to hold it during an already stressful period.

5. Keep Your Pup Occupied During Fireworks

Provide distractions by giving your dog something delicious to focus on during fireworks, like a stuffed KONG® toy or a frozen treat. This can help keep their mind off the noise and reduce anxiety.

6. Muffle the Noise

The unpredictable booming sounds of fireworks can make a dog feel vulnerable. An easy way to manage fireworks anxiety is to muffle the sounds with something else. Use a white noise machine or turn on some calming music loud enough to camouflage the fireworks. You can also cover your dog’s crate with a thick blanket and play music or sounds for them, ensuring they can leave the crate if they want to.

7. Comfort Your Dog

Contrary to some beliefs, comforting your dog during stressful events like fireworks can be helpful. Sit close to your dog, pet them gently, and offer quiet words of reassurance. This can help center your dog and reduce their fearfulness, reinforcing the bond between you and showing them they can rely on you when scared.

8. Consider Calming Supplements

Calming supplements can help support your pet during stressful events such as fireworks. Calming treats and pheromone collars or diffusers can promote relaxation without sedation, helping your furry friend relax during stressful times.

9. Consult a Professional

If your dog’s behavior doesn’t improve, consider finding a positive trainer to help you and your dog work through relaxation protocols. If the anxiety puts your dog or you in danger, talk with your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist about anxiety medication for dogs.

Remember, your dog’s fireworks anxiety is a visceral response, and it will likely take a multi-step approach to help your dog feel more comfortable with the sounds.

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dog scared of fireworks
dog scared of fireworks


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