a dog hiding

Fireworks and pets go together like oil and water. Many pets—cats and dogs alike—are terrified of the loud, cracking sounds that dominate the sky every 4th of July. The team at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital is here with tips to help manage fireworks anxiety in pets. 

Managing Noise Anxiety in Pets

One of the first tips we tell pet parents when it comes to managing noise anxiety is this: set up a safe space for your pet. If you plan to celebrate with friends at your home on the 4th of July, the safest place for an animal with noise anxiety is a cozy crate in a quiet, comfortable room. 

If you think your pet can handle being in your home or outside with you, it’s still a good idea to create a safe space. You never know how a particular firework sound might affect your dog or cat. Keep your pet on a leash if she’s outside with you. If she shows signs of fear—shaking, licking lips, cowering—take her to her safe room.

A 2019 study published in Plos One found that roughly half of all dogs experience a fear response when exposed to fireworks. Significantly, 25% of these dogs don’t recover by the next day, according to the study: 

  • 10% took one day to recover
  • 12% took up to one week to recover
  • 3% took longer than a week, and even several months, to recover

So, not only should you focus on how to help your pets stay safely at home physically, but also how to help your pets understand that they are safe. No matter how many fireworks go off. 

A safe space is one of the best ways to do that. Consider putting a white noise machine in the room. Or playing soothing noises from an app on your phone. Put a soft, squishy bed inside the crate, along with food, treats, and water. 

Practice using the safe room well before the 4th of July to give your pet time to adjust to being in it. 

Plan Ahead for 4th of July Safety

Along with practicing spending time in the crate and safe room, make other preparations for the 4th of July. These include:

  • Exercising your pet: A tired pet is less likely to be a wired, anxious pet on the 4th of July. Play with your pet and give her lots of love and attention before the festivities begin.
  • Updating ID tags: In the event your dog or cat does escape, you’ll want up-to-date microchip information and ID tags to help track him back down.
  • Stay home if you can: If your dog is particularly anxious, make plans to party at home. That way, you can keep an eye on your pup or kitty as she hangs out in her safe space.
  • Consider medication: Pets with severe noise anxiety may need the help of medication to get through the 4th of July activities. This may be especially true for dogs and cats with negative fireworks experiences in the past.

With these preparations in hand, you and your pets will be ready for even the loudest nights. 

Call our team at 865-609-0311 if you’d like to talk about medications to help your anxious pet or if you need microchipping services. We’re here to help—on the 4th of July and all year long. Learn more about our new client process here.