How to keep your dog calm when things are exploding around the 4th of July

When amateur pyros are blowing things up in your neighborhood, here's how to keep your dog from losing it

July 3, 2018
Scared dog

© Tverkhovinets |

It's a pretty good rule of thumb: Dogs hate loud noises.

And here we are, the noisiest holiday of the year.

I don’t know how it is where you live, but in my neighborhood in West Seattle, people are blowing stuff up in their yards and in public parks days before the Fourth of July, and it completely freaks out my dog Hazel. And trust me, there’s nothing fun about a 75-pound-dog whimpering and burrowing into your bed at two in the morning (which is about what time people usually decide to start firing off their arsenal of explosives.)

I guess there’s not much you can do about the amateur pyros all around you – hey, you may even be one. But there are a few things you can do to lessen the chance of a Fido freakout around the Fourth.

Thanks to Seattle DogSpot, I’ve got a list of 10 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Calm on the 4th. A few of these tips are pretty basic -- don't leave your dog home alone on the Fourth, exercise your dogs before nightfall to wear them out, stay calm yourself because your dog picks up on your energy, provide some kind of distraction . . . those are kind of no-brainers.

Two tips that stand out to me, though. One is to try a product called the Thundershirt. We used to use this on my last dog, Zoe. It's like a tight-fitting sweater that supposedly feels like a big reassuring hug when you wrap it around your pooch, and it can help calm them down. 

And . . . . drugs! We've used Benadryl to bring our dog's energy down (check with your vet before using people medicine on a dog) or, here in Washington where marijuana is legal, there are cannabis-based products that are supposed to calm dogs down. I haven't tried these yet, but it seems pretty promising and I've talked to people who swear by them.

Take a look at the whole list of tips here, and if you really want to do our four-legged friends a favor this Fourth, how about leaving the pyrotechnics to the professionals?