Fireworks and Pets

Cities and residents are ready prepping for their first in-person 4th of July festivities since 2019. For pet owners, the holiday may bring mixed emotions. While some folks will be out watching dazzling fireworks displays, others will be home anxious and upset with their pets.

Many animals suffer from moderate to extreme anxiety during the annual celebration. If you are trying to help a fuzzy friend through the holiday this year, check out these tips below.

Noises and Lights – The flashes and bangs from firework explosions are a big culprit in inducing anxiety. A great way to minimize scary noise is to play another noise overtop of it. Turn on a movie or music to try to take the edge off the. Also consider closing the blinds, turning on the lights or moving to an interior room of the house where the explosions will not be visible.

Safe Place – Make sure you have an open crate with a blanket over it, a cozy closet or a similar safe space where your pet can retreat if they want.

Plenty of Treats – Get some high desirable treats. Every time there is a boom, pair with a tiny piece (the size of a cheerio) of this treat. I would do this even if your pet does not care about fireworks that way you can ensure that fireworks stay a good thing. 

Medication – Extreme anxiety can be discussed with your veterinarian. Your pet may be a candidate for medications to help.

Cuddles – If your pet wants to be close to you, let them. It will not reinforce their fear. You should also think critically about your pet’s comfort level and not attempt to force cuddles. 

Wear Them Out – For your pups, take a long walk or play hard before the evening. Just watch that July heat and hot pavement! 

Proper ID & Microchip – Terrified pets looking frantically for a safe place to be may escape a yard or house. Be sure your pet is wearing proper identification and has an up-to-date microchip. Microchipping is an incredibly cheap and non-invasive way to greatly increase the chances of being reunited with your pet. 


Have a wonderful and safe holiday! 


About The Author: Rizal Lopez, DVM, is Chief Veterinary Officer for SPCA Tampa Bay. He and his staff have completed over 8,000 procedures since opening the St. Pete Veterinary Center in late 2016. Dr. Lopez, since joining the organization in 2011, has performed over 20,000 spay/neuter procedures for the community. He held several positions with the organization before taking the lead veterinary role at the center.