sad dog with fireworks over the Chicago skyline in the background

Summer is here and full of celebrations, but these celebrations can induce high stress and anxiety in our pets! With fireworks ramping up, it is important to recognize the signs of anxiety and be prepared.  

Here are some tips on how to get through firework season:

Create a Safe Space

  • Pets usually do better if they are not left home alone during fireworks events. This may not be possible, so creating a safe space is important!
  • Keep windows, doors, and curtains closed to minimize the noise and light.
  • Consider a white noise machine for the area they like to hide.
    • White noise or classical music is preferred over radio and TV as human voices or loud sounds can worsen anxiety.
    • “Through a Dog’s Ear” is a series of classical selections that has been shown to have calming effects on dogs. This is available on Spotify and Apple Music!
  • Add pheromones (Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs) around the safe space.
    • Pheromones mimic the calming scent of the mother and have been found to decrease anxiety in cats and dogs.

Extra Exercise

  • Play with their favorite toys or go on a longer walk to help tire them out.
  • If possible, head out for the long walk before the sun sets.
  • Double-check the fit of the collar and harness before going outside as the chances of loud noises scaring them off is much higher.

Encourage Hydration

  • Fear makes dogs pant and summer is extra warm, so make sure to provide fresh water in multiple spots, particularly if they like to hide.

Calming Supplements and Sedatives

  • If your pet has had bad reactions to fireworks or other noises in the past, reach out to discuss available supplements or sedatives to help keep them calm!

Signs of anxiety can include shaking, panting, drooling, excessive vocalizing, hiding, packing, and bolting. Escape attempts usually involve hiding in the home but the source of noise can be very confusing, so some dogs may want to escape to the outside. In fact, American pet advocacy groups point out that Independence Day is the busiest day of the year in shelters with pets getting lost or hurt. 

Tags and Microchips

  • 1 in 3 pets go missing in their lifetime. Ensure they are wearing a collar tag and microchip with up-to-date information.
  • Don’t know your pet’s unique microchip number? Check your veterinary or adoption paperwork or call a nearby shelter or veterinarian to have your pet scanned!
  • If you do not know the brand of the microchip, visit the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Universal Pet Microchip Lookup to find the manufacturer so you can contact them to provide accurate contact information. 

And remember, firework debris can be present the morning after – and can be toxic! Watch out for debris and other items on the ground.

Lastly, Medical District Veterinary Clinic will be closed in observance of Independence Day on Monday, July 4, so please make sure to note the number and address to the closest emergency clinic.

We wish you and your beloved companions a happy and stress-free holiday!

Dr. Valbuena