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How to Calm a Dog During Fireworks: 8 Genius DIY Tricks That Save Time and Money

Learn how music, a t-shirt and more can help!


When fireworks go off in celebration, your poor pup often gets so restless and anxious. The loud sound can trigger a fight or flight response in many dogs, which can leave owners anxious and searching for ways to soothe their furry friend. And while you’ve likely seen pricey products at the pet store or online that can help, thankfully, there are a number of inexpensive ways to get the same results! Keep scrolling for 8 ways to calm a dog during fireworks so you both can enjoy the holiday.

Why are dogs scared of fireworks?

A dog hiding scared from fireworks

You may notice that some dogs are more fearful of fireworks than others and it may be because of the environment in which the pup grew up. And interestingly, the reason for why one dog is scared could be the reason for why another isn’t! It’s not uncommon for dogs to develop a fear of loud noises if they were exposed to them as puppies or if they experienced a traumatic noise-related event. On the other hand, dogs who heard or saw fireworks when they were young may also be more likely to be okay with fireworks as adults, explains Danielle Bernal, DVM.

Your dog’s breed also plays a role in whether he or she is fearful of fireworks. In 2015, Norwegian University of Life Sciences researchers analyzed how different breeds responded to noises. Varieties such as Great Danes and Pointers, which are classic hunting breeds, were less sensitive to loud noises than others. This makes sense given what they were bred to do.

1. How to calm a dog during fireworks: Give him an ear massage

A low-cost way to help Rover relax during the loud booms? Bring him tranquility with a mas- sage. To do: Support his head with one hand and gently hold his ear between the thumb and forefinger of your other hand. Then stroke the ear from the base to the tip.

Repeat several times, covering different portions of the ear, for 5 to 10 minutes. The soothing motion will distract even the most frightened animal, keeping him calm until the loud bangs are finished.

“The Ear TTouch is a really useful touch,” says YouTube user @HeartDog in the video below. “It can help calm anxious and stressed dogs, so it’s a great one to use during fireworks or thunderstorms if your dog is sound-sensitive.” Watch how soothing this is:

Related: “I’m a Veterinarian and This Is a Red Flag That Your Dog’s Ears Need Cleaning!”

2. How to calm a dog during fireworks: Make a DIY wrap

When your sweetie gets whiny and nervous, you can soothe him instantly with a body wrap. While anxiety vests cab cost $30 or more, you can make your own at home with an ACE bandage.

To do: Place the middle of an elastic bandage over your pup’s chest and cross both ends over his back. Then go under his belly and back up around his back again. Tie to secure. Researchers say that the wrap’s maintained pressure stimulates the dog’s body receptors. This helps him regain focus and let go of anxiety.

See how this comes together in the video:

3. How to calm a dog during fireworks: Slip her into a shirt

A dog in a t-shirt to stay calm during fireworks

Another DIY body wrap that can help snuggle your pup? Just slip an old T-shirt over her head, making sure the neck hole is wide enough so it doesn’t choke her. (Cut to fit as needed.)

Then use one or two hair clips to cinch the shirt around her torso so it fits snugly. Researchers have found that maintaining gentle pressure with a body wrap stimulates a dog’s parasympathetic nervous system, which sends “relax” messages to her brain.

You can also sew your own “thundershirt” to help with anxiety, as seen in the video:

4. How to calm a dog during fireworks: Create a calming collar

If the loud bangs always panic your pooch, soothe her fears with a “calming collar.” To do: A few minutes before the fireworks begin, place 5 to 10 drops of a pure essential oil with calming benefits all around her collar. As your pup breathes in the scent, it will help settle her frayed nerves so she can relax.

Another alternative: use essential oils in a diffuser that’s placed in the room where your dog is likely to spend his time. “If your dog is afraid of fireworks, we do have a really great calming recipe: the fireworks diffuser recipe,” explains Dr. Janet Roak (YouTube user @EssentialOilVet) in the below video. “So you do two drops each of copaiba, lavender and vetiver. It’s one of my favorites that works really well.” See more in the video below.

5. How to calm a dog during fireworks: Play firework videos before


The onslaught of fireworks on Independence Day never fails to make poor Buster cower with anxiety. But you can calm him with this desensitizing trick dog trainers swear by: A few days before the holiday, play videos of fireworks on YouTube.

Start the video on low volume for 5 minutes while feeding Buster his daily meal or giving him some special treats. Then progressively play the video a little louder a few times a day until it’s playing at top volume. Once he’s heard the loud noise of the fireworks on video, your pup will get so used to the sound that the real deal will cease to scare him.

6. How to calm a dog during fireworks: Cover ears with a sock

No need to buy an anti-anxiety headband to help him stay calm. Simply cut off the toe end of an old, large sock and slide it over his head until it’s covering his ears. The makeshift headband acts as an earmuff and makes Rover feel like he’s being hugged, so he can relax. (Click through for more uses for orphan socks). This can also be done using a large dog sweater!

See how to in the TikTok from @vt below:


For scared dogs use a jumper or old sock to cover their ears #fireworks #guyfawkes #bonfirenight #dogsofttiktok #cutedog #dogtips #fyp #hack #dog

♬ original sound – VT

If you have a large dog or one that doesn’t like to wear a headband, try sticking a cotton ball in each ear. It will still help muffle the sound to keep him calm.

7. How to calm a dog during fireworks: Play loud music

When the noise starts, you may be tempted to distract your pup with a white noise machine or video. However, experts say that these don’t do a great job of blocking the sound, as fireworks have a much deeper, booming noise.

A better way: “What I would suggest is keep a stereo on in another room that has bass, that has treble, that has all kind of things happening,” shares @SuburbanK9DogTraining on YouTube.

Watch for more below:

8. How to calm a dog during fireworks: Wear him out

A dog playing to get worn out before fireworks

For dogs that have minor fears of fireworks, you may be able to help them stay calm before a show simply by depleting their excess energy, shares @SuburbanK9DogTraining. Tiring them out can be a useful secret!

Consider taking Buster on a long walk, playing a game of fetch, or letting him run around the dog park for a while. He’ll be so worn out, he may just snooze right through the noise!

Related: Dog Zoomies: Vets Explain What Makes Your Pup Go Absolutely Bonkers

What to avoid when trying to calm a dog during fireworks

For many pet owners, seeing their animals visibly upset is heartbreaking — so it’s not surprising that your first instinct may be to snuggle with your pup. That said, there is conflicting opinion regarding whether this is okay.

“When pet parents calmly soothe and reassure their dog, they often report a therapeutic effect on their dog’s behavior,” Bernal says. ThunderShirts and anxiety wraps as mentioned above, mimic this effect to calm your pets. 

However, Veterinarian Kelly Ryan, DVM, offers a different take. “The problem with snuggling with your dog during fireworks is [snuggling is] something that usually the dog considers to be a good thing — something they like to do with their person and is like a reward,” she adds. “If your dog is exhibiting a behavior that isn’t good or isn’t adaptive — like being scared — and then you’re rewarding that, in theory, you’re almost rewarding the fear.”  

You will also want to try and keep your pup inside around the time fireworks are commonly set off. If a dog is even outside in the backyard and some fireworks start going off, it can get really freaked out and take off.

“Getting lost this time of year is also a risk if they’re out and about during some of this activity,” Ryan advises. “It’s probably a good time to remind everyone to make sure your pet has microchip information that’s up to date. If your pet doesn’t have a microchip, it’s always a good time to make sure you have that too.”

For more dog tips, keep reading!

Dog Parents Are Getting Their Furry Friends in on the Fun With Adorable ‘Hands in’ TikTok Trend

Why Is My Dog Panting So Much? Vet Weighs in + Offers Genius Solutions

Why Does My Dog Keep Shaking His Head? Potential Causes and Easy, Effective Fixes

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