Dogs And Fireworks: Natural Solutions For Stress And Anxiety

Dogs And Fireworks: Natural Solutions For Stress And Anxiety

Alex Seilis

Dogs and fireworks don't always mix ... so fireworks season can be a stressful time for dogs and their owners. With fireworks seeming to go off every night during certain seasons, not all dogs are able to stay calm. The loud booms and bright flashes can cause significant anxiety for our dogs.

The good news is there are several natural remedies and strategies you can use to ease your dog's fear and keep your dog calm.

Here are some practical tips and natural solutions to help your dog cope with the loud noises of fireworks.

Is My Dog Scared Of Fireworks?

How do you know if your dog is scared of fireworks, or if it's something else triggering his anxiety?

Maybe your dog is just a naturally nervous pup ... moreso than other dogs. So how do you know specifically if your dog is scared of fireworks?

These signs can help you tell. Recognizing the behaviors below can help you address your dog’s anxiety more effectively.

Clear Signs Of Fear

  • Trembling and Muscle Tension: If your dog is visibly shaking or appears tense during firework noises, these are clear indicators of fear.
  • Tail Between Legs and Ears Back: These classic signs of anxiety show your dog is feeling very scared.
  • Whites of Eyes Showing: When your dog's eyes are wide open and you can see the whites, this is a sign of significant stress.

Subtle Signs Of Anxiety

  • Yawning and Licking Lips: Dogs afraid of fireworks may yawn or lick their lips when they're nervous or uncomfortable.
  • Panting and Drooling: Excessive panting and drooling can be signs of stress, especially if your dog is not hot or thirsty.
  • Restlessness: Dogs scared of fireworks may start pacing or have an inability to settle down. These are signs your dog is anxious.

Behavioral Changes

  • Hiding: Your dog may seek out small, enclosed spaces like under furniture, in a closet, or bathroom to feel safe during fireworks displays.
  • Seeking Proximity: Dogs often try to stay close to their owners when they are scared, looking for comfort and reassurance.
  • Barking or Whining: Vocalizing more than usual, especially in a distressed manner, is a dog behavior that indicates fear.

Extreme Reactions

  • Destructive Behavior: In some cases, dogs might chew on furniture, doors, or other items as a way to cope with their anxiety and noise aversion.
  • House Soiling: A scared dog might lose control of their bladder or bowels, leading to accidents inside the house.
  • Diarrhea or Loose Stool: Anxiety can affect your dog’s digestive system, resulting in gastrointestinal upset.

As a dog owner, recognizing these signs can help you take steps to calm your dog before the fear escalates.

Lifestyle Tips To Manage Firework Anxiety

Helping your dog stay calm during fireworks involves a combination of preparation, environmental adjustments, and soothing activities. Let’s look at some effective ways to manage firework anxiety in dogs so you can keep your dog safe.

Here are some practical steps you can take to ease your pup's anxiety during firework displays.

Stay Home With Your Dog

Being present with your dog during fireworks can provide a great sense of comfort. If possible, plan to stay home with your dog on nights when fireworks are expected, such as holidays or local events.

  • Company and Reassurance: Your presence alone can be calming for your dog. Spend time with them, providing gentle reassurance and comfort.
  • Sitter Option: If you can't be home, consider hiring a pet sitter or asking a friend or family member to stay with your dog.

Exercise Earlier In The Day

Giving your dog plenty of physical activity before the fireworks start can help them feel more relaxed.

  • Morning or Afternoon Exercise: Take your dog for a long walk or engage in vigorous play sessions earlier in the day to tire them out.
  • Mental Stimulation: Incorporate puzzle toys or training exercises to mentally stimulate your dog, further helping to expend their energy.

Establish A Safe Indoor Environment

Creating a comfortable, secure space for your dog indoors can help them feel safer during fireworks.

  • Basement or Interior Room: Keep your dog in a basement or an interior room with fewer windows to reduce exposure to noise and light flashes.
  • Curtains and Shades: Close curtains or shades to block out the visual stimuli from fireworks.
  • White Noise: Use white noise machines, fans, or air conditioners to help muffle the sounds of fireworks.

Provide Calming Distractions

Offering distractions can help take your dog’s mind off the fireworks and focus on something more positive.

  • Calming Music or TV: Play calming music or keep the TV on at a moderate volume to provide a constant background noise.
  • Favorite Toys and Treats: Give your dog their favorite toys or long-lasting chews to keep them occupied.
  • Comfort Items: Ensure your dog has access to their favorite bed or blanket, and consider using a crate if it’s a place where they feel safe.

Use Pressure Wraps

Pressure wraps, like the Thundershirt, can provide gentle, consistent pressure that has a calming effect on many dogs.

  • Tight T-Shirts: In the absence of a commercial product, a tight-fitting t-shirt can also provide some of the same calming benefits.
  • Correct Fit: Ensure the wrap or shirt fits snugly but not too tight to avoid discomfort.

In addition to these lifestyle tips, you can also use natural remedies to help. Below are some of our favorites.

Natural Remedy #1: Herbs

Herbal remedies can offer calming effects and are a great natural alternative. Here are a few herbs known for their soothing properties.

German Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita)

Chamomile is well-known for its calming effects on the digestive system and can also help soothe your dog during stressful events like fireworks.

  • Dosage: Use a glycerin tincture, giving 0.25 to 0.50 ml per 20 lbs of body weight, twice daily leading up to and during the fireworks event. Mix it with your dog’s water or administer it directly into their mouth.
  • Safety: Chamomile is generally safe, but start with a small dose to ensure your dog isn’t allergic.

Oat Straw (Avena Sativa)

Oat straw is Dr. Randy Kidd’s first choice for soothing anxiety in dogs. It’s easy to use and can be added to your dog’s food.

  • Preparation: Make a tea by adding 1 tsp of organic oat straw to 8 oz of water. Let it cool and add 2-4 oz of the tea to your dog’s food daily.
  • Relaxation: This herb helps to calm your dog naturally and can be used regularly to manage anxiety.

Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian root is a potent anti-anxiety herb that can be very effective during fireworks.

  • Dosage: Start giving 5 drops of valerian root tincture 3-4 times a day, beginning 3 days before the fireworks. Continue this dosage throughout the fireworks period.
  • Precaution: Avoid valerian for dogs that are “hot” and always seeking cool places to rest, as it is a warming herb.

Natural Remedy #2: Flower Remedies

Flower remedies are gentle, natural extracts that can help calm your dog’s nerves during fireworks. They are safe and easy to administer.

Rescue Remedy

Rescue Remedy is a well-known blend that eases fear and anxiety. It combines Rock Rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Cherry Plum, and Star of Bethlehem.

  • Administration: Put 2 drops in your dog’s water bowl or directly into their mouth. You can also add it to their favorite treat.
  • Frequency: Use as needed, even every 15 minutes during fireworks for continuous support.

Individual Flower Remedies

In addition to Rescue Remedy, specific flower essences can be tailored to your dog’s particular fears.

  • Rock Rose: Good for panic and terror. Use if your dog hides or trembles during fireworks.
  • Mimulus: Effective for fear of known things, such as fireworks. Use if your dog shows specific phobias.
  • Red Chestnut: For clingy dogs that stay close to you during loud noises.
  • Cherry Plum: Helps with loss of self-control, barking, or uncontrollable behavior during fireworks.

Dosing Flower Remedies

  • Standard Method: Put 2 drops from the remedy stock bottles into your dog’s water bowl or directly into their mouth.
  • Treatment Bottle: Create a treatment bottle for convenience. Use a 30 ml amber glass dropper bottle, add 2 drops of each selected remedy, top with spring water, and preserve with ½ tsp of brandy.

Natural Remedy #3: Essential Oils

Essential oils can offer calming effects when used safely and correctly. Here’s how to use them effectively.

Safe Use Of Essential Oils

Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before applying to your dog.

  • Dilution: Use a 0.5% to 1% dilution, which means 3 to 6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil like almond or apricot kernel oil.
  • Safety First: Let your dog sniff the unopened bottle first. If they show disinterest or turn away, do not use that oil.

Calming Essential Oils

  • Lavender: Known for its soothing properties.
  • Neroli: Helps reduce anxiety.
  • Petitgrain: Calms the nervous system.
  • Roman Chamomile: Provides gentle relaxation.

Calming Essential Oil Recipes

Here's a topical blend for fireworks fear:

Add the following to 2 oz of your choice of carrier oil:

  • Neroli: 8-10 drops
  • Petitgrain: 6-8 drops
  • Lavender: 4-6 drops

Mix thoroughly and apply lightly to the back of your dog’s neck or collar.

Natural Remedy #4: Hydrosol Calming Spray

Hydrosols are safer, less concentrated alternatives to essential oils.

Here's a recipe:

  • Neroli Hydrosol: ½ oz
  • Blue Chamomile Hydrosol: ½ oz
  • Lavender Essential Oil: 5 drops

Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake before use, and mist your dog. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Natural Remedy #5: CBD Oil

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is an increasingly popular natural remedy for helping dogs manage fear and anxiety during fireworks. It offers calming benefits without the psychoactive effects of THC.

How CBD Works

CBD interacts with your dog’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating mood and stress responses.

  • Serotonin Activation: CBD helps stimulate the production of serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer that can help calm your dog during stressful situations like fireworks.
  • Nervous System Support: By interacting with the nervous system, CBD can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

Benefits Of CBD For Firework Anxiety

  • Quick Acting: CBD can be effective quickly, making it suitable for situational anxiety such as fireworks. Administer it 30-90 minutes before the anticipated noise for best results.
  • Safe and Natural: Unlike some pharmaceutical options, CBD is a natural remedy with a good safety profile when used appropriately.

How To Choose A Quality CBD Product

  • Full Spectrum: Look for full-spectrum CBD products, which contain a range of cannabinoids that work together for a more effective result.
  • Organic and Pure: Ensure the product is organic to avoid pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Purity is key, so choose a product that provides a Certificate of Analysis showing the CBD content and absence of contaminants.
  • Tincture Form: CBD tinctures allow for easy dosing adjustments. Treats may be convenient but often contain lower concentrations of CBD.

Dosing CBD

  • Dosage Guidelines: Start with 1 mg to 6 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight. Adjust the dose as needed based on your dog’s response.
  • Administration: Administer the tincture directly into your dog’s mouth with the dropper for the quickest absorption. You can also mix it into their food if needed.

Managing Firework Anxiety With CBD

CBD can be a powerful tool in your arsenal for managing your dog’s firework anxiety.

  • Preemptive Use: Administer CBD before the fireworks start to help your dog remain calm.
  • Monitoring and Adjusting: Observe your dog’s response and adjust the dose as necessary to ensure they remain comfortable and anxiety-free.

By integrating CBD oil with other natural remedies and anxiety management strategies, you can create a comprehensive plan to help your dog weather the fireworks season more comfortably.


Will my dog be okay with fireworks? Many dogs can be okay with fireworks if you prepare in advance and use natural calming methods to help them cope with the stress. Ensuring a safe, quiet space and using remedies like CBD oil can significantly reduce their anxiety when fireworks begin.

How do you desensitize a dog from fireworks? To desensitize a dog from fireworks, gradually expose them to the sounds of fireworks in a controlled environment while rewarding calm behavior. This process can help reduce their fight or flight response over time, making them more comfortable during events like New Year's Eve or bonfire night.

What dog breed is most scared of fireworks? While any dog can be scared of fireworks, some breeds like Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Labradors tend to be more sensitive due to their high alertness and protective instincts. Veterinary behavior experts often see these breeds for anxiety issues related to loud noises and flashing lights.

How to protect a dog from fireworks? To protect a dog from fireworks, create a safe and quiet space indoors, close the curtains to block out flashing lights, and play calming music to mask the noise. Natural remedies like CBD oil and herbal supplements can also help dogs cope with the stress of fireworks.