Why Fireworks and Pets Don’t Mix

Monday, June 30, 2014 - 2:15pm
Scared dog hiding under a blanket

Who doesn’t love the Fourth of July? It’s a weekend for block parties, barbeques, belly-flops in the pool and parades—all best when enjoyed with friends and family, and even better when you have the day off to celebrate with your pets! Have fun, but remember that certain traditional Independence Day activities might not be so fun, or so healthy, for the four-legged members of your household: yes, we’re talking about fireworks.

Fireworks are loud, and the crowds that go to see them can be scary, too. Animal shelters nationwide are flooded with runaway pets on the Fourth; studies show that nearly one in five lost pets went missing because they were fleeing the sound of fireworks or other loud noises. Losing a pet is not only heartbreaking, it’s also very dangerous for the animal, especially if he or she ends up roaming busy streets.

The best way to keep your pets safe is to make sure they don’t go missing in the first place: Please resist the urge to take your pets to go see fireworks. Instead, keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home. Double check leashes and collars and make sure your pet’s ID tag is up to date. Be mindful when opening outside doors. And if the unthinkable does happen, the ASPCA’s new app is here to help: Utilizing the latest field research, this free tool provides users with an individual search plan based on their pet’s behavior and individual circumstances so they can search quickly and effectively to recover their lost pet.  

Please read the rest of our advice for a safe and festive Fourth!

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Liz, we use music as a calmer, too. Even when we are home, our sweet dog (adopted 3.5 years ago, a German shorthaired pointer) gets agitated and quivery during a thunderstorm. Besides giving her lots of TLC and hugs -- kind of like a human Thundershirt :-) -- we put on music. She responds well to piano music or to classical music that does not have a lot of percussion.


My Buffy is a shelter dog. He is soooo scared of any loud noise. He came from a rough neighborhood. Our dogs only go out on a leash, never without. I keep him close to me and reassure him he is ok. He is such a good "puppy", he is so beloved to me. Our other two belong to my granddaughter and husband. The little Pug is a hoot!!!

sunshine forever

I have x3 cats who are 11 y/o. They were all fostered and abused. So noises FREAK them out. They HATE the 4th and New Years :) but we make it through together. They all hid under the bed. I make sure I am w/in "reach" for them. I talk to them. Want to make sure they know they are not alone.


We have a 62 lb. dog that just wants to be on the bed with us. We cuddle with her and she now falls asleep through some pretty bad thunder storms. When we brought her home six years ago (she was a five year old rescue), she would be very nervous during a storm. We're very happy that she can now relax.


For our dog; she wears her 'Thundershirt' (you can google it) and keep her in our bedroom with the fan on high. This does seem to help. Of course with lots of hugs & cuddles! Best wishes to all your animals.

Carol Dickinson

Always keep pets with you in the house. If they want to get into an open closet that would be fine too. Also you might have some comforting music or calm television show on... so the sound would distract or cover up the sounds from the fire works. Also petting them and telling them you love them. Give them plenty of water... and food of course. Also maybe a nice chewy bone. They love those and that would also take their mind off the fireworks.




We had three dogs years ago and none of them were afraid of the fireworks, we were all seated in our car, in fact the dogs and late husband would fall asleep in the car and no matter how loud it got, they slept through it. We had two small poodles and one doxie. They never were scared of thunder either. We never acted afraid and they sensed all was well. Their ears were very sharp to noises except for my late husbands....

Sue Dodson

Charlie my chocolate Lab hates fireworks. I SWEAR by Thundershirts!! Also, Adaptil(a hormone you spray on a bandana and tie around your baby's neck). It mimics the pheromone of a nursing mother dog. Also, last but not least is Acepromazine, a tranquilizer, if you will, that will mellow out your pooch. I would try these in order and see what works best for your baby. Maybe all 3....who knows?

Fran D.

When there is a thunderstorm or fireworks, I play with my dog and give her treats so she associates the noises with fun and rewards.