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Pawsitively Fun Celebrations: Dog-Friendly Alternatives To Fireworks

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Fireworks have long been a tradition when celebrating the 4th of July. They bring color to the beautiful night sky and lighting them can be fun.

However, fireworks can be terrifying and can pose a serious danger to our four-legged friends. So, as dog parents, we must find ways to pawsitively celebrate our country’s independence without compromising our dog’s wellbeing and safety.

In this article, we’ll list down some safe and dog-friendly alternatives to fireworks that you can enjoy with the whole family, including your four-legged friends. Continue reading to find out!

Understanding The Impact Of Fireworks On Dogs

Fireworks Display In The Night Sky
Svetlin Angelov /

Fireworks can have a negative impact on dogs because they can affect their physical and emotional wellbeing. And understanding this is important, especially for dog owners, to ensure we can keep dogs safe during the 4th of July celebrations.

Here are a few reasons to give you an idea on how negatively fireworks affect our four-legged friends:

1. Dogs have an acute sense of hearing

Why are our dogs so scared of fireworks? It’s simple. Fireworks have loud, sudden, and unpredictable noise.

And because of a dog’s keen sense of hearing, the loud booms and whistles that fireworks produce are louder and much more intense for them. This can be overwhelming for dogs, and can cause immediate stress and anxiety.

2. Fireworks trigger a dog’s fight-or-flight response

Fireworks are loud AND unpredictable for dogs. Paired with the loud noise, the unpredictability of when a firework will go off triggers a dog’s fight-or-flight response.

Dogs will then perceive fireworks as threats and may bark, hide, run away, whine, or even shake at the sound of fireworks. As a matter of fact, a study showed that up to 50% of dogs are afraid of fireworks.

3. The anxiety dogs get from fireworks can lead to injuries

When dogs hear the loud booms of fireworks and become anxious, they may chew on their paws or fur excessively, leading to injuries and skin infections.

4. The anxiety can also lead to hiding and avoidance behavior

As a direct response to their anxiety and fear, dogs will do everything to get away from the loud noises and seek refuge somewhere.

And due to the deafening noise and huge bursts of colorful light in the sky, more pets go missing on the 4th of July than any other day of the year.

As a matter of fact, the country sees a 30-60% increase in lost pets each year between July 4th and 6th. This also makes these days the busiest times of year for animal shelters.

5 Dog-Friendly Alternatives To Fireworks

Looking to celebrate the 4th of July with your dogs without the fireworks? Worry not! We’ve got some alternatives to fireworks that are as spectacular and will surely ignite joy and keep tails wagging!

1. Drone And Light Shows

Drone and light shows have become one of the most popular alternatives to fireworks when celebrating the 4th of July. As a matter of fact, more and more cities are now replacing their traditional fireworks shows with drone shows.

With drone and light shows, you still get the fireworks’ spectacle and vibrance in the night sky, but without all the loud and unpredictable noise.

Check out below to see if your city is hosting a drone show!

If there are no drone shows in your city or near you, you can always do your own light show in the comfort of your backyard with some LED projectors! Light up your backyard BBQ celebrations by syncing the LED projector to your favorite music.

Here are a few LED projector to help you pull off your very own light show at home:

2. Glow Sticks

Here’s another alternative to fireworks that will still light up your 4th of July celebrations! Glow sticks are not only dog-friendly, but they’re also kid-friendly. You won’t have the risk of burns, injuries, or fires while having fun with them.

You can be as creative with them as much as you want – bend them into eyeglasses, necklaces, bracelets, or even attach them to your dog’s collar or leash.

Furthermore, glow sticks can last up to six hours, that’s a lifespan longer than sparklers or fireworks!

Here are some glow stick options for your 4th of July celebrations:

3. Sparklers and LED Fiber Wands

Sparklers As Alternatives To Fireworks During The 4Th Of July Celebrations
iHumnoi /

If you still want a bit of sizzle during your 4th of July celebrations but without the loud noises, then you can always opt for sparklers! Most dogs can handle the crackling noises and bright lights pretty well.

However, traditional sparklers can also be a fire hazard, and some dogs who are extremely sensitive to sound can be afraid of them. So, if this is the case for you, you can always opt for LED fiber wands!

These LED fiber wands are great alternatives to fireworks AND sparklers. They mimic the beauty and light of sparklers but without the fire. So, you can wave them to your heart’s content around your dog and with the kids.

Here are some options for you:

4. Movie Night Under The Stars

If you want an old-fashioned alternative to fireworks, then we absolutely recommend an outdoor movie night with the whole family!

Set up a projector and screen in your backyard, get cozy with the kids and the pooches with some blankets, pillows, and snacks to watch some of your favorite movies.

Or if you want to add a twist to movie night, you can choose to watch some of the best patriotic movies out there!

5. Bubbles

Happy Kid And Pet Dog Playing With Soap Bubbles At Backyard
alexei_tm /

Who said you need the spectacular and brilliant lights and fireworks to enjoy 4th of July celebrations? Well, bubbles are alternatives to fireworks that prove you can have fun without fireworks!

Playing with bubbles is a tried and true way to have fun, both with the kids and with the dogs! So, if you want to have the best time during your 4th of July celebrations, then opt for bubbles instead of fireworks.

There are so many different bubble machines to spice up your celebrations. There are some that light up, mimicking the colors of fireworks, and some that come in the form of toy guns:

Keeping Your Dog Safe During The 4th Of July Celebrations

While many have started ditching the fireworks this 4th of July, some still love celebrating our country’s independence the good old-fashioned way – by lighting up fireworks.

So, it’s important to stay vigilant and know how to properly keep our dogs safe during the celebrations.

In saying this, here are some tips to help your dogs deal with their anxiety and ensure they are safe during the 4th of July:

  • Keep them indoors with you. The best way to ensure your dog is safe and sound is by keeping them indoors. Don’t forget to securely shut any and all windows and doors and block any exits that your dog could escape through, including pet flaps. Furthermore, ensure they have access or have a designated space in your home where they can hide.
  • Drown out the loud fireworks with background noise. Turn on music or play a movie in the television to drown out the noise of fireworks outside.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and identification tag at all times. It doesn’t matter if they’re safely indoors with you, some pets can become so scared and will take desperate measures, like breaking through windows, to escape the noise. So, in case they go missing, they can be returned to you with the information on their tags.
  • Make sure your dog is microchipped. There have been so many missing dogs that have been returned home thanks to their microchips. So, make sure your dog is microchipped!
  • Speak to your dog’s vet about using calming medications. If your dog gets extremely anxious over fireworks, try speaking to your dog’s vet on what calming medications would be most safe and effective for your pooch.
  • Use a calming vest. Alternatively, you can buy your dog an anxiety relief vest like the ThunderShirt.


A Small Terrier Dog Lies On A Sofa With Headphones And A Sparkler Infront Of It
Sonja Rachbauer /

Fireworks do ignite joy and light up the night sky like no other. However, they can pose a real danger, not only to our dogs, but also to other animals and pets.

So, this 4th of July, let us prioritize the safety and wellbeing of your pets. With the above mentioned alternatives to fireworks, you can have fun and enjoy the celebrations while keeping your dogs’ health and safety in check.

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