Helping Pets Cope with Fireworks

Most American dogs are afraid of fireworks to some degree, and many are crippled by the stress. Each summer, Lake Orion Veterinary Hospital receives many requests for medications to ease patients’ anxiety. But are there drug-free options? Absolutely! We encourage you to explore these tips (that won’t compromise their liver or kidney health):

  1. Spend the evening with your dog. Usually, you are the most comforting thing on earth to them. If you want to watch fireworks, consider going out of town on a different day so you can be with your dog during the show near your house.
  1. Use Adaptil® collar or diffuser. This product uses canine pheromones to non-invasively calm you pet. You can purchase Adaptil in our hospital or through our online store.
  1. Turn on the TV or stereo. If your dog is used to listening to a television, a movie or show can help cover noise that otherwise might alarm them. If your dog likes music, play their favorite kind. Be careful, though: if they don’t usually hear these sounds, adding new noise could make them feel like their home is
  1. Provide a safe space. Make your pet’s normal resting area especially comfortable. They might like to snuggle with a shirt that smells like you or have a special treat! (Tip: freeze peanut butter inside a Kong® toy for a longer-lasting distraction.) This safe space will need a personal touch from the one who knows your pet the most—you!
  1. Keep the lights on according to your normal schedule. Turning off the lights to watch fireworks from a window draws attention to the abnormal event and can make dogs feel unsafe.
  1. Try a ThunderShirt™. While this will not be the perfect solution for every pet, it can make a big difference in your dog’s demeanor during stress.
  1. Use Composure™ chews. This supplement helps dogs naturally reduce their own stress, without causing drowsiness or a change in energy. We sell this product in our hospital, and on our online store.
  2. Don’t panic, get angry, or restrain your dog. It’s rarely a good idea to restrain your dog to prevent pacing. Pacing can be a healthy way to channel anxiety. If your dog is extremely anxious, loud, or even destructive, keep your cool. Remember, they have no way to know fireworks are a happy celebration. It’s important to project confidence and calm about the evening, even if we know our furry friends will be hard to handle.

As a general safety tip, make sure the information associated with your dog’s microchip is updated. If they panic and run away from you, microchips are the best way to make sure they find their way back. Check your pet’s ID tag as well. Is your phone number current and readable, or has it rubbed off? Replace it if you can’t read it easily.

What helps your pet endure fireworks? We would love to share your tips with others! Send us an email at

This year’s fireworks show in Lake Orion, Michigan, will be Saturday, July 1.