Plan for Your Pet’s Fourth of July

By Cathy M. Rosenthal | June 21st, 2024

Independence Day isn’t a celebration for frightened pets

A frightened dog under a blanket, by smrm1977. Plan for your pet’s Fourth of July to help ease their fears.

If Independence Day brings the pops and bangs of celebratory fireworks to your neighborhood, you should plan for your pet’s Fourth of July to help ease their fears.

Dear Cathy,

The 4th of July is approaching. My dog is terrified of fireworks. Last year, my veterinarian prescribed Acepromazine 25mg. This medication completely immobilized my dog. I read that it immobilizes them, but they are still afraid. I tried CBD, but it didn’t work. Is there any other option to calm my dog during these fireworks?

— Joe, Suffolk County, New York

Dear Joe,

It’s great you know to plan for your pet’s Fourth of July. The holiday can be challenging for our furry companions. Some display extreme reactions to loud noises, such as trembling, panting, drooling, and even destructive behavior.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to alleviate fears entirely, there are several strategies to make your pet more comfortable and less scared during these stressful times.

Tips to help you plan for your pet’s Fourth of July

  • While many pet owners are hesitant to medicate their pets, prescription-strength sedatives may be necessary in extreme cases. If you are concerned, you could try over-the-counter calming chews with melatonin and L-Theanine, which can help reduce anxiety.
  • Incorporate Rescue Remedy®, a flower essence also known to alleviate canine anxiety, into your pet’s daily water intake or administer it directly if your pet is triggered by thunder or fireworks. Consistent use of these products may help reduce symptoms over time.
  • Consider using calming clothing, like an Anxiety Wrap®, Thundershirt® or Happy Hoodie®, which provides comfort pressure similar to a weighted blanket for humans.
  • Create a noise-buffering environment by playing white noise, nature videos, or keeping the TV or music turned up. I have found that action movies can be effective in masking loud sounds.
  • Walk-in closets with clothing hanging can help muffle outside noise; lining that same closet with acoustic panels can create an even more calming place for your pet to rest. If this option is not feasible, draping heavy blankets on three sides of a kennel can provide limited sound insulation.
  • While managing a noise-phobic pet can be challenging, with patience and persistence, you can help alleviate their fears and ensure they feel safe and secure during stressful times.
  • Remember that most dogs require a combination of interventions to ease their fears, so don’t be discouraged if one method doesn’t work. Try different approaches or combine techniques until you find what works best for your pet.
  • Please make sure your dog is tagged and microchipped with up-to-date contact information in case of separation.

Two reader-tested, tried-and-true tips for soothing anxious dogs

Note: Fireworks can be equally stressful for cats, but their symptoms are less noticeable. They usually seek refuge under beds or in closets. They can benefit from “comfort” clothing and over-the-counter feline-calming chews as well.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist, and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. She advises readers on diverse topics, such as how to plan for your pet’s Fourth of July to outdoor cat safety and bizarre dog behavior. Send your pet questions, stories, and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.

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