Middle River Veterinary Hospital

252 Rolla Mill Road
Verona, VA 24482



How to Help your Dog Overcome the Fear of Fireworks

Crackle Pop Bang! Pretty lights! Panicked Dog!


Fireworks season is upon us! You may already be hearing the exciting crackles, whistles and booms. Meanwhile your poor dog is trembling and trying to squeeze under the couch. So what can you do to help your canine companion? Below we've listed a few things you can try.


  • The best option is to take your dog away from the offending sounds. Fireworks season is a great time to head out to a quiet vacation spot in the country! Since not many of us can pick up and go someplace without fireworks, try to create a safe space in your home. Look for an interior room with no doors or windows - keep the space dark and create a lot of white noise with a fan or TV/radio to muffle the fireworks booms. Your dog may have already chosen his safe space - bathrooms, closets and basements are favorite hideaways. If your dog already has a space he chooses to retreat to, just try to make that space as comfortable for him as possible.

  • Engage your dog with favored treats and toys. Give him a frozen food-stuffed Kong or long-lasting chew to occupy him. Play a fun game - try rapidly tossing treats back and forth for the dog to chase. Try to keep your dog focused on you and not on the scary sounds outside. Cuddling and petting is fine too, if it helps your dog - snuggling together on the couch will not make the fear worse, so go ahead and gently stroke your dog during the show.

  • Stay calm yourself! Our pets take cues from our behavior, so keeping calm can go a long way to helping them out.

  • There are a few over the counter aids that can be helpful, especially when used together and with the management tips already mentioned
    • The thundershirt is like getting a huge hug. For some dogs, the snug garment really helps them feel safe. It is worth trying!
    • Adaptil collars and plug-in room diffusers emit a calming pheromone similar to what a mother dog secretes naturally to keep her puppies calm.
  • If your dog is particularly panicky with fireworks, prescription medications can help. Sileo oral gel is specifically approved by the FDA to help dogs with noise aversion. We also prescribe various anti-anxiety medications as appropriate for the individual patient. Contact us for more information.


The bottom line: start at the top and add on. These ideas work best when used in combination, rather than just one at a time. Fireworks season can be dangerous if your dog is so panicked that he escapes the house while trying to get away from the scary noise. Make sure your dog is properly identified with a collar tag and microchip and keep him safely confined indoors until the neighborhood is quiet again. Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions.

picture of dog hiding

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