Your dogs and the 4th of July… how to keep them safe and calm.

My dogs hanging out in the yard in the glow necklaces.

It’s that time of year….. the 4th of July. I’m pretty lucky. Neither of my dogs are very reactive to fireworks. They bark some but don’t show any signs of stress. So I feel really blessed. But they are in the minority. So many of my friend’s dogs are terrified. They spend the majority of that week panting, shaking and are just not themselves.

It’s heartbreaking to see them is such distress.

What can you do to help keep them safe and calm? Here are some ideas for you.

  • Safety first. The number one day dogs go missing is July 4th. If you have a fenced yard, walk the perimeter and make sure it is very secure. Do your dogs bolt out the door? Think about confining them in a room where they can’t reach the door. Collars and tags are a must. And it’s a great time to make sure your microchip is correctly registered.
  • Leave them at home. I see so many people take their dogs to the fireworks display. They don’t want to be there. You never know what will scare them. They can slip a collar and be gone in seconds. They will thank you for letting them stay in the familiar comfort of their home.
  • If you know fireworks cause them stress, take them for a very long walk during the day. A tired dog is much more likely to sleep through the commotion.
  • Keep your dogs inside, air conditioning on and windows closed if possible. If they are comfortable in a crate, cover their crate so it’s dark and put it in the quietest spot in your home. And stay with them if possible.
  • Mask the sound with soothing music or the TV. John Tesh on Lite 96.3 is a great way to distract them… really!
  • Keep them busy. A Kong filled with frozen peanut butter or cheese is a fabulous diversion.
  • Thundershirts do work. The acupuncture type hug has worked wonders on a number of my friend’s dogs. You can also make a wrap out of an Ace bandage. Check out how to do it on YouTube at
  • There are a lot of calming collars and plug ins available. They seem to provide mixed results. But if your dog gets really worked up, they are certainly worth a try.

It can be a fun or stressful holiday. Hopefully these tips help and your dog can enjoy your extra time off with you instead of hiding in closet counting down until the weekend is over.

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