It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of fireworks. Maybe it’s that I’ve had to share the limelight with them for the past (almost) 25 years or maybe it is because they are so darn loud. I think the best way to watch fireworks is from far far away. Then you can see the beautiful patterns they make in they sky, but you don’t have to hear each boom and bang.

I’m not alone in my relative dislike of fireworks. Odds are that your pets don’t like them either. In fact, July 5th is the busiest day for most shelters across the country because so many pets get spooked and run away. Sadly, only a small percentage of those pets ever get reunited with their humans.

Last year I collected a list of 9 great resources for keeping your pets safe on Independence Day, so this year I decided to tackle July 4th from another angle. Today we are talking about alternative ways to celebrate 239 years of independence and keep your pets safe at the same time.

5 Dog Friendly Alternatives to Fireworks this Fourth of July

5 Dog Friendly Alternatives to Fireworks this Fourth of July

1. Go Camping
One of the best parts about an extra day off in the middle of summer is spending some time in the great outdoors. There is no better way to do that then to go camping with your dog. If you are new to camping, don’t worry we have a whole guide about Camping with Dogs for Beginners! Be sure to find a spot in a state or national park where fireworks aren’t allowed. If that isn’t an option then you can try camping out in your living room. Everyone loves a good blanket fort!

2. Have an Ice Cream Social
I don’t know about you, but July can be HOT and HUMID. Nothing tastes better on a ridiculous summer day than ice cream! Invite friends and family over and include your pups too. Whip up a easy batch of peanut butter or chicken ice cream for the dogs and go crazy with fun toppings for the humans.

3. Watch a Patriotic Movie
If you still want to do a little something patriotic on July 4th, snuggle up and watch a patriotic movie with your pup. Some good options might include Top Gun, Forrest Gump, Air Force One, Independence Day, Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot, or even some National Treasure!

4. Stuff Your Face at a BBQ
If you want to spend some time outside, but aren’t crazy about the creepy crawlies that might be lurking in the woods, a BBQ might be for you and your pup. Go crazy and cook up some dog friendly BBQ treats. It is a holiday after all. BBQs are typically during the day so you can head inside for safety before the fireworks go off.

5. Host a Dog Olympics
A planned event like a Dog Olympics is another way to spend some time outside during the day. Plan several different events and see who wins gold. You can even assign countries, but the dogs might fight over the good old US of A!

Even if you decide to do one of these great options, remember to still stay prepared. You never know who is going to be setting fireworks off in their backyard, unfortunately.

Double check your pet’s microchip is up to date. If your pet doesn’t have one, get one and register it right away. Keep an eye out for discount programs and inquire at your vet office.

Make sure your pet is wearing his or her tags. Verify that your contact information is correct on the tags as well. If you need a new one, check your local pet store or even Walmart for a quick ID tag.

Bring calming aids with you like the Thundershirt. The Thundershirt is easy to pack and great to have on hand if your pup gets anxious. Plus, they now even have festive red and blue Thundershirts!

Luna in her Red Polo Thundershirt

We’re headed to a cabin in Southern Virginia for the long weekend and I’ll be doing all of these before we leave for our trip!

ONE lucky Beagles & Bargains reader will receive a Thundershirt!

USA residents are eligible to enter via the Rafflecopter below. Entries must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, July 12, 2015. The winner will be notified via email within 48 hours of the giveaway closing and will have 48 hours to respond and claim his or her prize. The winner will be able to select the size and pattern of the Thundershirt.

Calming Aids like the Thundershirt

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received no compensation or additional benefits for mentioning the products in this post. The opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business. Thunderworks is responsible for all giveaway prizes including shipping.

Jessica Shipman

Jessica Shipman

Jessica Shipman is a bargain hunter, food lover, and software engineer figuring out how to be a pet parent for the first time. Jessica has been a long time lover of all animals (especially llamas and manatees) and is happy that she can finally combine that love with technology.
Jessica Shipman

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  • Michelle

    I would choose the pink polo.

  • Jason Diehl

    Gunshots, thunder, and us getting ready to leave to go somewhere

  • Vera wilson

    The blue polo one, but they all look nice.

  • Linda Szymoniak

    The sweet dog wearing the blue Thundershirt makes me think of my Ran, who passed in April. She was deaf, so she wasn’t affected by fireworks and thunder. However, two of my other dogs are very frightened by these things. We have a couple of Thundershirts but could use another one. I’d pick the Pink Polo one for my Kyoko. Each of my dogs has their own “signature” color, and Kyoko’s is pink. .

    • beaglesbargains

      I love the idea of signature colors. Luna typically wears bright green or purple.

  • Joy

    My dog, Ella, is afraid of loud noises so fireworks terrify her. I’d love to try the Pink Polo ThunderShirt on her.

  • thankfully neither of the boys are bothered by fireworks but I must admit they drive me crazy – people start days before the event, carry it over for days past the event and have no concern that people might be trying to sleep. This year too I wish more people would be aware what affect fireworks can have on combat veterans suffering PTSD – those fireworks can cause they to flash back to being in gun battles

    • beaglesbargains

      That’s a great point! I definitely wish more people were aware of that too.

  • Ellen Reardon

    My apollo is very anxious about pretty much anything, he gets separation anxiety and also from any sudden movements or noises, and new situations. He was a stray before he was rescued so he is very skittish!

  • Christine Aiello

    My dog is terrified of fireworks and also thunderstorms. She hids in the bathroom and won’t lay down until it is over. She just sits up and shakes! I would pink the pink polo thundershirt.

  • Excellent! Great alternatives to going to see fireworks, I would add to have some loud music or TV to drown out loud booms in the distance. One of my dogs is terrified of the sounds of fireworks. It’s so true that SO many pets will be lost this weekend, ending up in shelters. Microchipping is a MUST!

    • beaglesbargains

      Yes! You could have a good ole dance party!!

  • helpthepets

    My Sophia is a puppy-mill survivor and something happened and she is severely afraid of loud noises. She also has separation anxiety so bad, she will bark the whole time I am gone. She needs to calm down, and nothing has worked, and she can not take meds.

    • helpthepets

      And I would like to get her the Pink, but the classic works just as well.

  • Helga

    Sully the Doxie would like the blue polo but that camo is snazzy too. He would like it when it storms!

  • Ruby already has a Thundershirt, but I’d like to try one for Boca. Boca is more bothered by fireworks than Ruby, and Ruby is more bothered by thunderstorms than Boca. I will be glad when this holiday is behind us for another year, but unfortunately a nearby municipality has another fireworks display on July 25th!

  • Dolly the Doxie

    Thanks for the great suggestions! Well, except for camping because mom just does not do camping. I am terrified of fireworks too — for the last week I’ve been going to bed wearing my Thundershirt because the booms last until the early morning. Love Dolly

    • beaglesbargains

      Sorry to hear that Dolly!! Tell your mom to try glamping. Tons of fun!

  • Candice

    I would pick the Blue Polo Thundershirt in XL. I have 3 dog who all hate loud noises, thunder, and especially fireworks.

  • Tenacious Little Terrier

    They canceled fireworks temporarily here because it’s so dry but they canceled the ban…

  • Jody Miller-Young

    So not looking forward to fireworks, either, Jess. Not a fan and I know my two will be barking their heads off. I’m grateful they aren’t terrified and won’t be hiding under the sofa. But it will sure be noisy. Loved your suggestions, especially the olympics and the ice cream party. Ruv ice cream! 🙂 Happy camping!

  • Heather Kinser

    Ranger gets very anxious when his girl is away from him for any length of time. I would pick the blue polo thundershirt for him.

  • SGilbert

    Skipper starts shaking and running around the house trying to find a safe place to hide. We have to wrap him in a towel and hold him. I would like a bus one!

  • Marilyn Nawara

    I would choose the THUNDERSHIRT – PINK POLO

  • Susan D

    I would choose the classic thundershirt

  • Jennifer A

    I’d go with the classic for Dexter

  • LyricInTime2803

    Wager isn’t afraid of thunder or fireworks, but he’s an anxious dog in general. He has a very low stress threshold and it results in reactivity to many, many things. It’s been a struggle, but we’re diligent with training and managing. We’ve found the Thundershirt to be very helpful for him- it calms him enough to provide a delay between a trigger and the reaction- enough to respond to a cue from me to redirect his attention into doing tricks or behaviors instead of barking and spinning and turning into a little tazmanian devil. But we use it so often, it would be great to have a spare- I think the blue polo would look wonderful on him! (Shiloh is pretty bombproof and isn’t afraid of much. He’s been just a bit sensitive to thunder lately, but a reassuring word from me and he’s back to being happy again).

  • I’m not 100% sure how Mauja and Atka are with fireworks. Last year we barely heard any (fireworks aren’t allowed on base). I’m hoping it’s the same way this year because I imagine they’d be spooked. We’re going to have an evening movie cuddlefest instead. Nick likes the “stuff your face” option 😉

    • beaglesbargains

      Luna actually hasn’t heard any either, so I don’t know how she would react. She doesn’t mind thunderstorms, so I’m hoping its not too bad. And Nick is a wise man.

  • Nike is terrified of thunderstorms, fireworks, and the sound of a firing cannon from a working farm museum that’s less than a mile from our house. I’ve never tried a thundershirt for her, but I’ve always wondered if it would be helpful. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    • beaglesbargains

      Oh goodness. A firing cannon? That would terrify me.

      • They don’t fire it very often; usually on the 4th of July and whenever they do their Civil War Days thing. But when they do, I can’t get Nike to go outside, even to potty. She’ll go on the garage floor before she’ll step foot outside!

        • beaglesbargains

          Poor Nike ): Hopefully it isn’t too bad this year!

  • sandy weinstein

    my oldest used to be very scared of thunderstorms, she would hide under the pillows in my bed, sometimes i could not find her, until i saw her little stub of tail from under the pillows. now that she is deaf she is not bothered by them anymore. however, my 2 younger girls have suddenly become scared of storms. the middle child the worst. she just wants me to hold her and wont leave my side or hides in a corner. i like the Thundershirt-Red Polo the best.

  • Brittany Phillips

    Thunderstorms, fireworks, and when our cell phones vibrate makes Spencer anxious. I would love to win and would choose the Camo Polo Thundershirt

  • cezovski

    My dog does not like loud noises of any kind, so this would be great for him to have when fireworks are sounding off! I would love to have either the San Francisco Giants or the Camo Shirt in Size Large.

  • Thunderstorms make our dorkie anxious. I would choose the ThunderShirt – Pink Polo.

  • Jennifer Reed

    I would choose the medium sized blue polo Thundershirt for my boy. He get’s so anxious with storms and wind.

  • Kim M

    I would choose the Small Pink polo. Olivia does not like loud noises like thunder or fireworks.

  • Angela Cash

    My dog is terrified of thunderstorms and buzzing insects. I would love to have the Large Blue Polo Thundershirt for her.

  • jill190

    My dog is anxious of diesel trucks and thunderstorms.

  • Shelly PoochparkWear

    Anything that goes bang freaks her out so during the fireworks I normally make her up a bed in the bathroom which is dark and quiet and she goes there plus of course I stay at home so she is not alone – a thundershirt would be awesome to help with this problem as I live in the city

  • LeAnn Harbert

    my dog is scared of thunderstorms, she wants the natural shirt in size large

  • Sherri Bertrand

    My dogs are scared of the fireworks, so usually we stay inside and I’ll have a movie or tv show on and try to drown out the sound.

  • TXpups

    Thundershirts sound like a great alternative!

  • Thundershirt Classic, Large, for my coonhound Valentino. He gets anxious in storms, mostly if there’s a lot of lightning cracks. This will be our first 4th of July together, so will soon know if fireworks are an anxiety issue.

  • Molly Pitcher

    we live by a stadium and in the summer there are so many fireworks after games that really scare my pooch. she would love a pink polo thundershirt.

  • DJohnson

    My pup is afraid of thunder and would love the PINK POLO.

  • Jayne Bailey

    Chloe doesnt like Loud gunshot thunder like noises and will stay in the bathroom during those times so she would LOVE to receive a red thundershirt

  • We’re getting ready to deal with our city’s fireworks tonight. My dog is not a fan. I’ve heard good things about Thundershirt’s, but we’ve never tried them out ourselves.

  • Tammy Horn

    A couple of my dogs are terrified of thunder and fireworks. Our houses are very close, and so many of our neighbors set off many of the illegal fireworks, which are so noisy and scary all by themselves, but adding the fear of and stress of hoping no one loses their home, we do what we can to remain calm and keep the dogs calm. I would choose the pink polo thundershirt.

  • Selina Ramirez

    My German Shepard mix is terrified of thunder and lightning. He’s a gentle, calm dog otherwise but during a storm he pants and paces around the room. It’s sad to see him so worried. I would choose a blue polo thundershirt.

  • Becca

    My Poppy has bad separation anxiety. This shirt could be the answer!

  • dawn

    Havoc is afraid of fireworks and my rabbit stomping her feet. Interestingly, thunderstorms don’t bother him. I’d choose the classic Thundershirt.

  • tatertot374

    I like the pink polo and my girls is afraid of storms.

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  • Great ideas. Two of the four dogs I have are so scarred when it thunders, they won’t leave my side and just sit and shake. It’s best to be somewhere far from fireworks on the 4th of July and New Years.

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  • Serge Botsaris

    One of my dogs gets anxious in storms, I’d pick the classic Thundershirt

  • Cathy C Bennett

    Harley doesn’t exactly get anxious – he just doesn’t want to be outside. As long as we’re indoors he’s fine.

  • Mary W

    My dog gets very anxious with any strangers around or for many other reasons. He’s a Border Collie! I would choose a classic Thundershirt.

  • Karla R.

    My dog get anxiety with rain. I would choose the red polo.

  • lanaechristina

    My dog gets anxious when there are thunderstorms!! She would love the red polo!

  • nickie burke

    My pup is afraid of the our vacuum cleaner

  • Caitlyn

    My lab is mostly anxious to be left alone. I’d go with the blue polo thundershirt.

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  • o kiraan

    Thunder and fireworks makes my dog anxious. I’d choose cuz my dog is a girl.

  • Carly D.

    We are getting our puppy TOMORROW! I think he gets a little anxiety being away from his brothers and sisters but I am sure he will adjust just fine. I would choose the classic one!

  • Kathy Erickson

    My little Morkie doesn’t like fireworks either. They make her anxious and she hides under the bed. I’m trying to calm her by just holding her and whispering calmly to her. I’d pick the Pink Polo for Sophie!

  • Darlene Carbajal

    Fireworks and thunder makes my dog really anxious. I would like the camo polo thundershirt.

  • LLL

    Could use this for my dog but skeptical on how it will work!!!

  • cjjmesser

    Rufus is scared of everything but loud noises are the worst. I would like a red polo thundershirt

  • Danai Rinacke

    We currently use the classic on our dachshund. She’s terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks. I’d really to love to get her the pink shirt.

  • Sookie isn’t too nervous of fireworks (she’s more afraid of things like strangers and loud cars and motorcycles). I would choose the pink thundershirt.

  • Wilma Prochaska

    Our little Yorkie, Tinkerbell, is terrified of thunder & lightning and fireworks. I would choose the Red Thundershirt

  • Daniel Scott

    I would get the red Thundershirt polo for my dog Kouga. He hates storms and this would look great on him.

  • Crystal Sheckles-Gibson

    I would actually be getting this for my cat Cookie. He is terrified when it storms. I would choose the blue sweater.

  • Rhonda Grisham

    My Tucker gets terribly upset when it thunders or fireworks are set off nearby. I would choose the blue.

  • Kristina Leezer

    House guests make my dog Bella anxious. I would choose the red polo for her.

  • chris z

    fireworks make my dog nervous i would get the pink

  • rtrexel64

    Thunder and firworks makes my dog scared, I would pick the ThunderShirt – Blue Polo.

  • rmhand

    Thundershirts work wonders, but my Rosie girl outgrew her small one. Now she needs a medium to keep fireworks at bay. I tried a new “calming collar” on her, but it didn’t help. We need to go back to what works and that’s the Thundershirts!!

  • Jackie Beltaine

    My two dogs are (thankfully) not bothered by storms or fireworks that much, but my friend’s dogs have issues and use Thundershirts. Our rescue has also had great luck with Thundershirts (Bama Bully Rescue) for many of our fosters.

  • Kay

    I would choose the pink polo. My dog gets anxious when we drive in the direction of the vets office.

  • EJ

    My Ginger is scared of storms and of course fireworks. Would like to try this to see if it would calm her. I would like this in black or red.

  • Jody Dietz

    I would love to try this for my dog. Poor little guy shook all night last night with all the fireworks.

  • Laurie Nykaza

    THUNDERSHIRT – CLASSIC is the one I like my rescue dog Max is always afraid of storms so it would be wonderful for him to use.

  • Trish B.

    I would love to win the red polo Thundershirt! Thank you!

  • Chelsea Lulla

    My dog gets scared during thunderstorms and fireworks! I would love to suit him up with a red one!

  • We kept Bo (our rescue) with us in the bedroom and watched a movie while the fireworks were going off this weekend. He seems to do okay with most storms, but the fireworks made him a little antsy once they really got going. I wonder if it’s because the loud noises just come some close together. (And maybe because our neighbors behind and across from us both insist on doing home fireworks so some of it’s pretty close.) I think Bo would look adorable in the red Thundershirt (he’s red and white!)

  • Monique Rizzo

    Fireworks and strangers make my dachshund very anxious. Thanks for the chance.

  • alicia szemon

    Everything makes my dog anxious. I feel so bad for my baby boy Named Trigger. He is a beagle boxer mix and he is a rescue dog. When we recused him, we did not know what he experienced as a baby. He is terrified of every loud noise and even small things. this is some things he is afraid of: Fireworks, balloons, plastic bags, water, loud music, thunder and lightning, huge dogs, ect. I wish he could feel more safe and not be so afraid of everything. I would choose the red polo shirt

  • Lesley F

    Fireworks & general anxiety when new people come over. I would love the classic

  • AnnaZed

    My dog Mike is afraid of the garbage trucks outside and there are three -every week!
    If he’s not too fat for ir Mike could rock the THUNDERSHIRT – RED POLO.

  • Mallory H.

    My dog is afraid of fireworks and loud thunder, I like the pink polo!

  • Vunda V

    I’m torn between the classic color and the blue color! I have a big GSD who turns into a wimpy lap dog when it storms, I’d love to help comfort him

  • Tanya Devenney

    i would pick the blue outerwear sweater.. my chi-mix is very scared of any loud noises ie.thunder

  • patriciacrowley

    My dog is afraid of loud bangs….even the garbage truck.

  • Classic black, XL
    My dog gets anxious in cars and we’ve had to take her to the vet a bunch these past few weeks, and more trips in coming weeks. She is a herding dog and I wonder if this would just calm her down a bit.

  • Jessica Rose

    My dog always has anxiety when there are gunshots/ any loud noises. Blue Polo, in XL

  • Wen Budro

    Loud noises, trucks, separation, people walking or talking outside our apartment, dogs barking. I would choose the red polo in the large size.

  • Erica Carnes

    Thunder is my dog’s weakness. I’d get the original design and easy to read.

  • sandra

    basically everything. we’d want the ThunderShirt – Classic

  • SGilbert

    Great ideas I love the one Stuff Your Face at a BBQ! I love BBQ and I love to cook out!

  • My first golden Bailey goes in the bathtub when there’s thunder!

  • Bryn Nowell

    Bean doesn’t get impacted by much, but it appears that Yoda is pretty effected by loud noises (he just joined our family). We would order the classic thundershirt 🙂

  • Diane W

    In Florida we have lots of thunder. My dog shakes and runs around and barks. I would choose the red thundershirt.

  • Krystal Pena

    loud nosies of any kinds THUNDERSHIRT – CAMO POLO

  • Teresa Russo

    My dog is a pit bull but she’s afraid of everything! Even chair suddenly scraping against the floor startle her. So, she hates fireworks and is a huge hater of thunder. Cuddling is the only thing that calms her down.

  • Crystal

    My Chiweenie, Zoey gets anxious when I vacuum, the sound of fireworks, and when people come over. She is very afraid of loud noises in general. Our Yorkie isn’t scared at all, i feel bad for her. She would look super cute in the pink polo thundershirt!! Did I mention she is also very afraid of thunder? 🙂

  • Anonymousities

    Thunder makes her anxious! She’d look great in red!

  • Joe GErsch

    loud noises make my 3 girls anxious

  • alejandra

    I have two chihuahuas and they bark at everything and everyone that makes a noise but they are always afraid of fireworks and thunder storms

  • Corey Olomon

    She gets nervous whenever she hears a noise outside or is left alone.

  • Jodi

    I’d probably take the red one to try on Sampson. He was very anxious with the firework noises this year.

  • We like the Red Polo shirt, although I think they’re all too small for Jake. He’s about 85 pounds, but is still so traumatized by thunder and fireworks. If we won, I would give it away to a dog that it fits.

  • My Name is Milk

    Loud noises such as people fighting, loud crashes, or even fireworks make my fur stand up. Hhmm…I like the red and blue (I’ve only seen gray cause my brofur has one of those) but I think I’d pick the red one. Would pop nice against my white fur, dontcha think?!?

  • Desiree Dunbar

    I like the blue Polo Thundershirt.

  • deb2569

    Thunder and lightning make her super anxious!!

  • Mojo becomes extremely anxious every time he see’s the pool guy. Doesn’t matter that he has been doing our pool for years, Mo just freaks everytime! LOL

  • Lisa Voyce

    Every 4th, my dogs hate the fireworks.

  • Kathy Rose

    I like the raincoat

  • veraprunn

    My dog gets anxious when it rains. I like the Pink Thundershirt.

  • Jenna

    Storms, fireworks, strangers, & that’s about all I can think of 😛

  • Caroline B

    My Gracie is scared of loud noises, especially fireworks.She’d love the classic thundershirt!

  • Dawn S.

    My dogs are both scared of fireworks and thunderstorms. I love the Classic Thundershirt in Red Polo.

  • Andrea Clifton

    My dog gets anxious during thunderstorms and I would love to have the Pink Polo Thundershirt for her.

  • Dagmar

    My dog gets really anxious when there are thunderstorms or really loud noises like fireworks. I think I would go with the classic one!

  • Leigh Anne Borders

    I would get the blue polo one. My sweet furbaby hates fireworks and thunder.

  • Jennafer211

    Both of my dogs are terrified of thunderstorms, fireworks and random loud noises. I would pick the polo pink thundershirt. Thanks!!

  • Tammy Woodall

    My Dogs gets so terrified during thunderstorms and fireworks that she can’t stop shaking. She looks like she hyperventilating. We try calming pills the vet gave us, but they don’t do much. Maybe the Thundershirt would help her. She would love the Blue Polo.

  • Lorena Keech

    Our dog has gotten calmer as she’s aged, but she really doesn’t like storms. I think she’d look smashing in the classic model.

  • Stephanie

    My dog is terrified of thunderstorms, I think this would help her so much! I think she would like the pink polo

  • Laurie Murley

    my dog is scard of any loud boom, guns, thunder, loud muffers.

    I like the ThunderShirt – Classic

  • Carissa Joslyn

    We live in the country so we don’t really have fireworks out there, but Thunder storms def scare my 15 year old dog, and ALWAYS have!

    I would pick the Blue Polo for him!

  • lshumack

    Thunderstorms seem to be the worst! And I would like the classic ThunderShirt!

  • Ally Ballard

    I would choose the XXL for my Akita!

  • Paula Tavernie

    Rain and thunder makes him nervous!!! I would choose Large Blue Polo Thunder Shirt!

  • Wendi Watson

    pink polo thunder shirt and the storms they know when the are coming they hide

  • anita leibert

    My sister’s dog practically panics every time it storms and especially when there’s fireworks. I feel so bad to see him so scared. If I am lucky enough to win one, I would choose the ThunderShirt Classic.

  • tinareynolds

    Fireworks do but were lucky not to have to many neigbors do them but a bad thunderstorm and he really freaks out. I like the Red polo in the size large

  • Jaime

    Thunder and an XL

  • Sand

    She doesn’t like car rides. She has a fit before going to the vet or the groomer.