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How to Keep a Dog Calm During Fireworks

Co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS
The flashing lights and booming noises of fireworks can frighten and alarm dogs. If there are fireworks in your area, stay with your dog so that you can comfort it and distract it from the noise. You can even prepare your home early to make it as secure and safe as possible for your pup. Just remember, it is not a good idea to take your dog to a fireworks display. If your dog does end up tagging along, keep an eye on it to make sure it is not distressed

METHOD 1   Calming Your Dog at Home

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1.  Act normally around your dog. Pretend as though the fireworks aren’t happening. Be cheerful and playful around your dog. If your dog comes to you for comfort, pet and cuddle it. If it isolates itself or hides, leave it alone, even if it is whining.[1]

  • Sometimes, dogs might run and hide under the bed or in their crate. If this happens, do not chase your dog down. Just check on it periodically.

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2.    Play white sound or music. Turning on a television also works well. While the noise may not completely drown out the fireworks, it can reduce the impact of the fireworks on your dog. Do not turn the music on louder than you normally would in your home.[2]

  • You can use an app, like Simply Noise or Noisli, to create white noise.
  • Video streaming websites might have playlists of calming music or ambient noise.

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3.   Close the curtains. The bright, flashing lights of fireworks can also cause alarm. Your dog might feel more secure if you shut the blinds, curtains, or drapes.[3]

  • Another light-blocking strategy is to train your dog to wear a Calming Cap, a type of blindfold. That said, some dogs may be more upset by firework noise rather than the light, so whether this works depends on your pooch.[4]

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4.   Distract your dog with a game or a puzzle treat. Giving your dog something to do will help it ignore the fireworks. You can play a game, such as tug of war or fetch, with your dog inside. You might also give it a toy filled with peanut butter or a treat-dispensing puzzle toy.[5]

  • A treat ball, KONG toy, or puzzle board are good activities for your dog.
  • Do not just give your dog treats when it is stressed. The goal is to get it to focus on an activity for a while.

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5.   Put a Thundershirt on your dog. A Thundershirt is a special vest that wraps around your dog. It gently hugs the dog to reduce its stress. You can buy Thundershirts online or at pet stores.[6]

  • You can also slip a small shirt or spandex top over your dog. Put it on backwards so that the tail is poking out of the neck hole. Make sure that the shirt is snug on the dog.

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6.    Make an anti-anxiety wrap out of an elastic bandage. This will have the same effect as a Thundershirt. Use ace bandages or non-adhesive body wraps. Wrap the bandage around the front of the dog’s chest below its neck. Bring the bandage up, cross it over its back, and wrap it down under its torso behind its legs. Bring the bandage up again and tie it over the dog’s back. The bandage should be snug but not constricting

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7.    Keep the dog on a leash if you go outside. If possible, don’t take your dog outside while fireworks are going on. Even in a yard, the dog might try to escape or jump over a fence. If your dog must go out, keep it on a leash. Take the dog back inside as soon as it has done its business.[8]

  • Just because there’s a break in the fireworks doesn’t mean that they’re over. Use the leash whenever you go outside that evening.

METHOD 2    Taking Your Dog to a Display


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1.    Look for signs of anxiety. Dogs show different signs of stress than humans. Even if your dog is sitting quietly, it may be quite upset. Some signs of fear or stress include:[9]

  • Yawning frequently
  • Panting heavily
  • Drooling
  • Shaking
  • Licking its lips

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2.     Keep your dog on a leash. Even if your dog typically behaves well off the leash, the fireworks might scare it and make it run. A leash will prevent the dog from bolting during the fireworks display.[11]

  • Make sure that your dog has a collar and an ID tag with its name, your name, and your contact information. If your dog does escape, this will help a shelter return it to you.

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3.    Give your dog some water. Anxious dogs will pant a lot, and they need more water as a result. Fill a cup with water so your dog can drink. If you only have a bottle of water, pour it out slowly in front of it so it can lap from the stream of water.

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4.      Let the dog pace. Your dog might want to walk around to release some of its anxious energy. If your dog gets up and wants to move, take it for a short walk.[13]

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5.    Take the dog home if it is too upset. Ultimately, fireworks make dogs feel very anxious and stressed. If your beloved pup can’t be consoled, it might be time to go home

METHOD 3   Reducing Anxiety Before Fireworks

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1.    Provide plenty of food and water early in the day. Once the fireworks begin, the dog may not want to eat. Make sure it eats a meal before it becomes dark outside. On the other hand, dogs will drink more when they are anxious. Giving your dog a fresh bowl of water can help.[15]
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2.       Exercise your dog early in the day. The exercise will get rid of extra energy that might turn in anxiety later. Extra time outside might also prevent extra trips outside while fireworks are going on.[16]

  • Try walking your dog right before dusk. Let it relieve itself. This will hopefully reduce its need for a walk later.
  • Play a few extra games with your dog during the day. Take it to a dog park or play fetch in the backyard.

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3.        Give the dog somewhere to escape to in your home. Set up a few hiding places in your home so that your dog can seek shelter if they’re scared. Dogs like small, enclosed, and dark places.[17]

  • If your dog has a crate, place a few of your worn clothes inside for comfort. Drape a blanket over the top. This will make its den feel extra cozy and secure.
  • Your dog might hide under a bed or hop into the bathtub. Make sure that the area is clean for your dog. Leave the door open to let it find its way inside.
  • If you don’t want your dog hiding somewhere, such as a closet or a basement, close the door. Just make sure the dog has other options for hiding.

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4.   Play a recording of firework noises to get it used to the sound. The day before, start introducing your dog to these sounds. You can buy these CDs at pet stores or online. Alternatively, you might look up firework shows on a streaming site. [18]

  • Playing these recordings regularly may help desensitize your dog to loud noises.

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5.      Talk to your vet if the dog has a history of anxiety. If your dog has had severe reactions to fireworks, thunder, or loud noises in the past, make an appointment with your vet before the day of the fireworks. Your vet may be able to give your dog medication that will keep it calm during the fireworks.[19]

  • One product your vet might recommend is a pheromone called Adaptil. These pheromones come in sprays, wipes, and diffusing collars.
  • A pharmacological option to try is Sileo, which is available in Europe. This medication is specifically engineered to treat dogs with noise aversions, such as fireworks.[20]
  • If using medication doesn’t feel like the right fit for you, your vet may be able to recommend natural supplements, such as Zylkene, that are worth a shot.
  • Your vet may refer you to a certified animal behaviorist. This behaviorist will help you train your dog so that it is less anxious around loud noises. This training can take up to six months, however.


  • Don’t yell or scold your dog for its anxious behavior. Instead of correcting it, you’ll only confuse it.
  • Always make sure that your dog has a collar and ID tags. If it runs away, it can be found and returned to you. You might also want to consider microchipping your dog.
  • If people are leaving to go to a fireworks display, see if one person can stay with the dog. The dog will feel much better having someone in the home with it.


  • Holidays where fireworks are common—such as the Fourth of July, New Year’s, and Bonfire Night—are the busiest for animal shelters because so many dogs run away but can’t find their way home. Always keep your dog safely at home and supervised during these times.


  1.  https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/dogs-and-fireworks-how-keep-your-dog-happy-during-fireworks-season
  2.  https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/home/how-to-keep-pets-dogs-cats-calm-during-fireworks
  3.  https://positively.com/contributors/10-safety-and-calming-tips-for-dogs-during-fireworks/
  4.  http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/product-review-calming-cap
  5.  https://positively.com/contributors/10-safety-and-calming-tips-for-dogs-during-fireworks/
  6.  https://www.k9ofmine.com/diy-thundershirt/
  7.  https://www.k9ofmine.com/diy-thundershirt/
  8.  https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/home/how-to-keep-pets-dogs-cats-calm-during-fireworks
  9.  https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/our-resources/kennel-club-campaigns/fireworks/
  10.  http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/how-to-tell-if-your-dog-is-anxious-or-stressed?page=2
  11.  https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/home/how-to-keep-pets-dogs-cats-calm-during-fireworks
  12.  https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/dogs-and-fireworks-how-keep-your-dog-happy-during-fireworks-season
  13.  https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/dogs-and-fireworks-how-keep-your-dog-happy-during-fireworks-season
  14.  https://thebark.com/content/5-ways-keep-your-dog-safe-during-fireworks
  15.  https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/dogs-and-fireworks-how-keep-your-dog-happy-during-fireworks-season
  16.  https://thebark.com/content/5-ways-keep-your-dog-safe-during-fireworks
  17.  https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/fireworks
  18.  https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/our-resources/kennel-club-campaigns/fireworks/
  19.  https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/dogs-and-fireworks-how-keep-your-dog-happy-during-fireworks-season/
  20.  https://www.zoetisus.com/products/dogs/sileo/






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