Warm nights, long sunny days, and countless reasons to cookout… Yep, summer is here, and nothing says the “4th of July” like a spectacular fireworks show. But while most people find fireworks colorfully entertaining, our beloved canine friends view them entirely differently.  

Some experts say that the 4th of July is perhaps one of the scariest nights of the year for our dogs and cats. From a dog’s perspective, fireworks produce extremely loud noises that can also make the ground vibrate. They can’t categorize it as a celebration or special holiday, they just see it as an abnormal, scary change of events that they cannot seem to escape from. 

Is the Fourth of July stressful for your pet?

Pet stress, or in case this, specifically dog stress, is a normal emotion that is felt by all breeds. But like humans, each dog is different and no two dogs handle stress the same way. That said, it’s important to know the many types of behaviors that may be exhibited when the fireworks show starts.

  • Barking at the loud thundering noises 
  • Trying to run away the minute they hear fireworks 
  • Hiding under the bed or in odd places because of the loud sounds 
  • Shaking uncontrollably due to the sound or bright flashes of lights 

Another indicator that your pup may find fireworks to be stressful is if you see them exhibit the same behaviors during thunderstorms. This is because loud noises may encourage the instinct to “fight or flight” – which means that our canine friends’ brains actually change when they hear scary noises like fireworks or thunder. 

Other, less noticeable signs of stress include excessive panting, pacing, yawning, and even whining. While these subtler signs can often be overlooked, assuming your dog likes fireworks and taking them to a firework show may contribute to unwanted stress and unpredictable actions that could put their health and safety at risk. So how can we help our dog be calm and relaxed during fireworks? The good news is, there are solutions! 

What can I do for my dog to help them during fireworks?

If your beloved pooch struggles during the firework show, the best thing you can do is address it with preparation and strategy. Below are five tips to keep your canine friends safe and calm this firework season. 

1. Steer clear from all fireworks and stay home

Steering clear from all firework shows is the first step to keep your pooch safe and calm this summer. If you live close to the city or near an area where firework shows are displayed, never leave your dog outside when a firework show is scheduled. Instead, the best thing you can do if you have a pup who is sensitive to fireworks or loud noises is to stay home with them during the evening of July 4th. Your presence alone will calm your pup down and make them feel a sense of normalcy and reassurance. 

If you’re unable to stay home with your pup, look into having a friend or family member stay with them. Even a professional pet sitter or dog walker can help keep your pup calm when the thundering noises start up. 

2. Try drowning out the noise of fireworks 

Studies show that calming classical music helps dogs relax. Drowning out the loud noises of fireworks with soothing classical music, or even something on the TV, may help calm your canine friends down. 

Approaching the 4th of July as you would any other night will help keep your pooch calm. Watch TV like you normally would, and try raising the volume when the fireworks begin. This will help your dog remain calm by allowing them to stay in their normal routine regardless of the fireworks. 

3. Exercising your pup before the activities start

If you know your pup experiences stress during fireworks, then you know it’s almost impossible to get them to go outside once the show begins. So help them get some exercise (walk, running, fetch) before the booms begin. This will help prevent accidents in the house, and may even help wear your pooch out to the point where they’ll want to sleep and relax for the rest of the evening. 

In the event that the firework shows begin before you make it back inside, be sure to double-check your dog’s collar, harness, and ID tags. If your dog is small enough to pick up, you should have no problem getting back inside. But for bigger dogs, be sure to take it easy. Talking calmly to them and carrying a few treats will help encourage them to get back inside where they feel the safest. 

4. Comfort your pooch 

As you know, staying home is one of the best ways to comfort your pup during fireworks. But animal behaviorist Corey Cohen suggests that “one of the best ways we can comfort our dogs is through touch. Gentle, easy massage is a great way to stimulate oxytocin, which is a natural antidote to adrenaline. Technique is not that important. It’s just the close, loving physical contact that helps.”

However, the worst thing you can do is to frantically repeat things like, “It’s OK, it’s OK, it’s OK!” in a panicky tone. If you remain calm, your sweet fur baby will sense your calmness and will likely remain calm as well. 

5. Try administering CBD

As a reminder, Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is the second most prominent phytocannabinoid found in hemp. It’s completely non-psychoactive and maintains a remarkably high safety profile (here’s more info on what that means). While studies are limited regarding CBD and canines, the ones that do exist support that CBD from reputable companies are safe and effective for dogs. 

Here at Holistic Hound we create 100% organic CBD products that are uniquely formulated with your pet’s taste buds in mind. So if you’re looking for a pet CBD product that may help your furry friends stay calm, relaxed, and healthy through fireworks season and beyond, check out our CBD bites, chews and oils.