How to Help Dogs Scared of Fireworks

This post is from a few years ago, but we thought it was a great post to share again.

As the 4th of July approaches, many dog owners have a sense of unease, as they know their dogs are afraid of the loud noises that accompany fireworks. These noise phobias are common and can occur in pets of any age, though many dogs do not develop the problem until they get into their senior years.

In her later years, our last dog, Kip, became very frightened of thunderstorms and fireworks. She would pant, drool, pace, become very “clingy” and follow us wherever we would go in the house. Ironically, her noise phobias became worse as she became more deaf.

We used several approaches to help her through these tense times. We made sure she had access to the laundry room, which was the room in the house most insulated from outside noise. Sometimes we even ran the dryer on “fluff” to produce some “white” noise that would drown out the sounds of the fireworks.

We tried to be upbeat and give her toys and played games to make her less afraid. We were “there” for her, but we didn’t overly try to console or comfort her. We also used dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP) and medications to help her through the worst times.

After Kip died, we got a new dog, Kirby, a 10-month old from a shelter. (Read about our new dog!) We have no idea how he will react to fireworks, as this is his first 4th of July with us. He does handle thunderstorms just fine, so that’s a good sign.

We plan to be home with him and to also provide fun activities during the loudest fireworks. We know he likes to lie in his kennel when he is tired, and he considers it a safe spot, so we’ll be sure he has access to his kennel during the fireworks. We’ll also reward him for showing relaxation or confidence during the fireworks.