Don't you wish your dogs could tell you when they're afraid of something?

Since not all dogs have the language skills to communicate their needs to us, it's important that we humans pay careful attention to the signs they do communicate in order to keep them safe and calm, especially during the 4th of July fireworks.


World of Animals Veterinary Hospital explains some of the signs of anxiety in your dog:

  • Whining, yelping, or crying
  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Pacing and other restless behaviors
  • Destructive behaviors like chewing and digging
  • Stiff body language
  • Dilated pupils
  • Ear pinned back
  • Hair standing on end
  • Hiding
  • Yawning
  • Excessive drooling
  • Having an accident inside the house

Even the calmest dog can have a rough time getting through sudden noises, especially during the days on and around Independence Day. With all the sudden noises, whistles, bangs and pops, the stress can affect even the calmest pooch.


I spoke to Tammy Gould-Berry of the Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center in Sierra Vista. She shared some tips on how to keep your anxious dog calm during the July 4th fireworks:

1. Ask Your Vet About Medication for Your Dog BEFORE July 4th

Tammy tells us that by the 4th of July, it's too late to talk to your vet about your dog's anxiety. Get in touch with your veterinarian ahead of the holiday.


Tammy told us, "Since most vets are closed on Independence Day, you'll need to plan ahead. If the vet is open, they may charge a premium for an emergency visit, since it's a holiday."

Your vet may be able to offer tips or prescribe medication to keep your dog calm. It may be as simple as getting a canine CBD product. Be sure to talk to your vet before introducing something like this to your pet, especially if your dog is older or has special heath concerns.

2. Use Thunder Shirt for Your Fashionable Hound

You can purchase thunder shirts at a local pet store or online. However, Tammy says, it's not necessary. You could save a little money by using a child's t-shirt for your dog.

These dogs are not wearing thunder shirts, but don't they look fashionable? You can make your own thunder shirt for your dog for pennies. Canva

If you don't have kid's shirts available, a trip to a thrift store could land you what you're looking for. Tammy advises, "The shirt should feel like a hug to your dog. Make sure your dog can breathe comfortably, and that it's just tight enough to do the trick."

3. Consider Staying Home with Your Dog, or Find a Dog Sitter

Fireworks are fun to watch, but if your dog is especially anxious, it might be best to stay home with her. You know her better than anyone and your presence could be all the calming she needs.

You might want to stay home with your dog. Canva

4. Dog-Proof Your Yard

If you leave your dog outside, carefully check the yard the way a scared dog might. Even if you have a good fence and gate where your dog usually feels safe, a scared dog may scale or dig under a fence. With enough fear, he might be able to force a usually secure gate open.

Even the best dog might be able to scale a fence or break through a gate when he's scared. Canva

Take some time to ensure a frightened dog left alone outside won't hurt himself or find a way to run away.

5. Write Your Name Upon Her Collar

Dog tags can fade or get lost. Use a permanent marker and write your name, the dog's name, and your telephone number on the inside of your dog's collar. Make sure the color is secure enough to stay on if she panics.

Write your name and phone number on the inside of your dog's collar in permanent marker, in case the tags go missing. Canva

6. Update the Chip Information

If your dog is microchipped, take a few minutes to make sure the information is current and up-to-date online. It's the best way to reconnect you with your pet if he does manage to run away.

Update the microchip information, especially if you've moved. Canva

7. If You Decide to Leave Your Dog Inside

Sometimes it's best to leave your dog inside the house where the sound is a little muffled. If you do, consider leaving him in a bathroom. Just be sure the bathroom doesn't have any windows a dog could reach.

Try leaving your pooch in a windowless bathroom for safety, if you do leave him home alone. Canva

"Scared dogs often find a way to jump out a window when they're frightened," Tammy says. "Then you not only have a lost dog, but he may injure himself jumping through the window, as well."

Have a Great Fourth of July

Tammy says Independence Day is the single, busiest day of the year for animal control officers nationwide. By following these tips, you can help your dog stay safe - and give our Animal Care Professionals a really boring day!

LOOK: Longest-living dog breeds

To find out the longest-living dog breeds, Stacker examined data from the journal Genetics and American Kennel Club's 2023 breed popularity rankings. 

More From Thunder 98.1