Dogs are just who they are… not sneaky or mysterious. They let you know if they’re happy, angry, or frightened. You just need to know how to understand what they are telling you. As fireworks start popping, burning, and whizzing, they really need you to understand, pay attention, and help them.

How does your dog tell you she’s frightened by the loud noises, flashes, and strange smells? Are his ears pinned back? Is she growling or whining? Is he shaking? Is her fur on end? Is your dog running away from you, or being extra needy? Is he cowering under the furniture? Other physical signs of fear include excessive panting, pacing back and forth, drooling, shallow breathing, a furrowed brow, dilated pupils, and/or trembling.

So what can you do about it?

The best thing to do is to physically distance your dog from the noise. It’s a great time to go camping somewhere remote and quiet. If that’s not possible, try creating a safe spot for your dog like a basement, small bathroom, or even a closet where they can hunker down and feel safe.

Showing your dog love and support can help – feeding him treats, letting him snuggle up to you, and talking quietly to him to calm him. Distractions can help too. Play games, put the TV or stereo on loudly, and even invite a calm dog friend over to play.

If your dog has severe anxiety, ask your vet about a sedative, or try CBD or lavender oil to help your pup get through this super-scary time of the year.

What if your dog gets frightened and runs away despite all of your best efforts? Statistics show that more dogs are lost over the 4th of July holiday than any other time of the year. This is one of the most distressing things for a family… a lost pet on the most dangerous of nights.

Dogs who are frightened by fireworks usually bolt and then hide. They may remain in hiding for several hours or several days. Dogs are safer in their hiding spots than running loose on the streets. He may come home on his own when it is quiet and he feels safer.

Of course, you want to start searching immediately. Alert neighbors, call animal control, leave word with local veterinarians and shelters, and post on every social media page you can (include good photos, the area where he went missing, and your contact information). Make flyers and distribute them around the area. Look under neighbor’s decks, in open sheds, under parked cars, and in bushes. Put out your dog’s favorite blanket, some food and water, and something that smells like you. (Check this pet column for tips to recover a lost dog).

I’m Athena, a 1-year-old Lab/Catahoula mix. I came in with my sister, who has been adopted. I’m house-trained, active, and I love other dogs and people of all ages! Please come meet me!


Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Shops have served San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties since 1994. Adoption hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5:30 pm. View our shelter pets and services online: