Keeping dogs calm during fireworks

It's lots of fun to put a red, white and blue bandana on your dog and take them along to the family picnic, but for dogs, the activities and fireworks on Independence Day be scary and dangerous. In fact, more pets get lost on July 4 than any other day of the year.

There are some ways that pet parents can help their dogs stay calm, comfortable and safe during the festivities.

"We work with animals every day and we want our pets to be us at the picnics and festivals too, but sometimes it's just not the right decision for your pet, your family or the people around you," said Jaime Graham, owner of Pet Wants Houston. "When dogs get scared - especially from loud noises like fireworks - they are more likely to bolt and run away. By taking the time to consider your pet's needs,, you can make July 4 better for everyone," 

Here are some suggestions on ways to help your pets:

  1. Act Calm: Animals pick up on behavioral cues from their owners, so if you're jumpy, nervous or scared, they will be too. If you can stay calm and relax, that will transfer to them.
  2. DIY Anxiety Wrap: Even if your pet is fine with thunder and you've never tried a thunder shirt, this might be helpful during the fireworks. Take a shirt or tank top that would be lightly snug on your pup and put it on backwards, so their tail comes through the neck. Then tie the shirt tails together to make the shirt snug.
  3. Find a Quiet Place: Move your pet to a closet or interior room with more sound-proofing than the rest of the house. Make sure to introduce your pets to this area well before the 4th so it feels like a comfortable place instead of a punishment. You can also try lowering the blinds or turning on the TV to help block out the noise.
  4. Bone or Bully Stick: Give your pet something new and fun to distract them from the situation.
  5. Pet Wants Calm Balm or Skin Spray: With soothing lavender, our house-made balms and salves are great for reducing anxiety associated with new people, new places, and loud noises.
  6. CBD Oil: This all-natural, quality-grade hemp oil has components to help dogs feel more comfortable and reduce anxiety.
  7. Watch What They Eat: Alcohol is very dangerous for pets, so absolutely no alcohol. Also, many people foods we enjoy on holidays have too many calories and too much fat for their systems to handle and can make them sick. Stick with their regular food and treats made specifically for dogs.
  8. Stay Inside: Even though you want to take your dog to the family picnic of the July 4th festival at the park, keeping them home, inside and somewhere quiet can make Independence Day more enjoyable for everyone. Plus, if they are at home, they are much less likely to bolt, meaning you won't spend all night scouring the neighborhood or posting on Next Door.