A Guide To Keeping Your Pets Safe And Serene On July Fourth

The fireworks during the Fourth of July isn't fun for everyone. Here is expert advice on how to keep your pets safe and calm.
Shutterstock 2171630945


As the Fourth of July approaches, many of us are excited to celebrate with fireworks. However, our furry friends may not share our enthusiasm. Dogs often experience anxiety and fear during the loud celebrations. In light of this, Vince Conrad, owner and trainer of Pittsburgh Dog Training Elite, offers some valuable advice on how to keep your dog safe and calm during this festive season.

First things first, it’s important to tire your pup out on the big day, says Conrad, who lives in McMurray. Plenty of physical and mental activity releases endorphins and increases the chance of your dog sleeping through the noise of the fireworks. 

“If your dog is older or can’t endure hot temperatures or much physical activity, mental stimulation can be just as tiring,” says Conrad. “Activities like puzzles, hide and seek, games and training can all tire your dog out just as much as a walk or playing in the park.”

It is also important to create a safe, quiet space for your dog to rest during all of the noise. Conrad suggests gathering your dog’s favorite toys, blankets and comfort items in an area of your home where the noise will be the most muffled,such as a basement or the center of the house. 

When the fireworks begin, try to dampen the noise as much as possible with music or TV. Conrad also suggests closing the blinds or drapes to avoid flashes of light. Once your dog is settled, it may be helpful to keep him engaged with Kong toys, or similar toys with treat pockets.  

Another way to help your dog feel safe and comforted is with an anxiety jacket or “stress vest.” “The benefits of anxiety vests for dogs are similar to those of swaddling a baby,” says Conrad. “An anxiety vest provides pressure, which releases endorphins.” 

Shutterstock 659915974

Anxiety jackets vary in effectiveness, according to Conrad, since all dogs respond differently to solutions, but for many dogs, anxiety jackets have been proven effective. Anxiety jackets can help all types of anxiety surrounding thunder, fireworks, separation anxiety and more.

“It is also important to remember that anxiety jackets don’t stop your dog from having an anxiety attack if you were to take them to a firework show,” Conrad advises. “But, they can help get them through the night if they are anxious and confused.”

Conrad recommends a ThunderShirt, but you can find different brands of anxiety jackets at places such as Walmart, Amazon, Chewy and more. If you need a last-minute fix for your anxious pup, you can create a makeshift vest at home. 

Wrapping your dog in an Ace bandage can create just as much pressure and comfort as a Thundershirt, according to Conrad. DIY stress vests can also be made with a scarf, towel or even a T-shirt, according to a tutorial by Trupanion, a pet insurance company. 

Whether this is your dog’s first Fourth of July or your dog has been afraid of fireworks for years, Conrad suggests that it is important to try to get to the root of your dog’s anxiety, especially if it is severe.

Thundershirts can help dogs with minor anxiety, but discovering the underlying cause is the key to dissolving your dog’s anxiety for good. Over time, conditioning and desensitization can help you and your dog get through days like the Fourth of July much easier. 

Categories: The 412