Fourth of July — Be Kind to your pets

by | Jul 3, 2019 | The Writer's Life | 8 comments

 By Robin Burcell

Best Friends

Tomorrow is the 4thof July. I have fond memories of waving sparklers at night, watching as they fizzled out and all that was left was the metal wand which still had a molten glow long after the sparkler died. And the little disks that were lit, sending up slate-colored ash snakes, then leaving a nasty black scar on the sidewalk… And Piccolo Pete’s. Who can forget the loud, high pitch screaming that ended with a bang!

For years, the county where I now live outlawed all fireworks due to fire danger. But it wasn’t all bad. The city spent a small fortune putting on a big fireworks show at the lake, free to all who wanted to spend the day at the park, then find a place to watch the colorful bursts in the night sky. We were fortunate in that for 26 years, we lived on the other side of the lake and could watch from our very own backyard. Sadly (for fireworks viewing) we moved last year. Now we get to hear the illegal fireworks that some of the neighbors set off. 
Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones who feel the law doesn’t apply to them. It seems every neighborhood has this type. It wouldn’t bother me so much if it wasn’t for the pets who are affected. And it wouldn’t bother me so much if they only did it the one night. But between the firecrackers, M80s, bottle rockets and the big rockets, the loud bangs start several days before the 4thand continue for several days after.
Backyard View

Our boxer was never too bothered about the fireworks, even when we lived behind the lake and they were being set off just a couple of blocks away. But our standard poodle, like a lot of dogs, cannot tolerate the loud sounds. I feel so bad for her, and it seems there’s little we can do. I’ve wondered if a weighted blanket might comfort her. I recently read about one woman who drugs her dog to keep him calm on the 4th.  I’m not sure that’s the right answer. 

While I wish everyone the happiest 4th, I do hope you’ll take into consideration all the homes with pets who are bothered by the loud noises. Don’t set off illegal fireworks! And for those of you with pets, take precautions. Keep them inside if you can. Make sure your gates are secured if you can’t.
What I’d really like to know, Rouge Readers, is if you have any tips or tricks to keep your pets calm for the 4th?
Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Rogue Women Writers

    Robin – you are SO right about protecting our pets if they are afraid of the loud 4th of July fireworks. Our Labradoodles don't mind the sounds, but I know lots of pups do. If those can be kept close by (sitting in your lap or right at your feet) with the windows closed — and a loving hand kept on them as a calming influence, hopefully they will be OK. It also might help to drop a note in the mailbox of an offending (noisy) neighbor respectfully asking them not to set off illegal fireworks for the sake of pets and children. Good luck – and Happy 4th of July to all!….Karna Bodman

  2. Robin Burcell

    Sadly, no one has mailboxes on their doorsteps out here. All are in a central location down the street.

  3. Gayle Lynds

    Such great info and advice. I've had dogs and cats who ran the spectrum about how disturbing they found the noise, but all of them were bothered. And then there's me … I love the stunning nighttime display of fireworks, but find the noise bombs just awful, even wearing ear mufflers and slapping my hands over the ear mufflers. Gives my brain quite a twist. Argh.

  4. Robin Burcell

    Agreed, Gayle! Why they have to do those noise bombs is beyond me!

  5. Lisa Black

    There are a lot of vacant lots in my area, so while there are plenty of fireworks, none so far have been close to me.
    Neither our Chow nor my cat seemed to have a problem with fireworks. The dog used to howl at fire engine sirens (cutest thing ever!!!!) and nothing other than a two day commute to life in another state ever freaked out the cat.

  6. Robin Burcell

    You're lucky, Lisa. Our boxer was never too bothered. But our poodle, sadly, is overly sensitive!

  7. Chris Goff

    Our dogs always hated the noise. We found putting them in their beds right next to wherever we were, and then covering them with a blanket or large towel helped. Sort of like swaddling a baby.

  8. Robin Burcell

    We have a heavy blanket that seems to help, too. Someone on FB suggested a recording of thunder. I'm going to try that, playing softly and increasing each day to try to desensitize her!