To Leave or Not to Leave: A Dog Owner’s Dilemma



It’s that time of year again – fireworks season.

You notice I said “season”, not just Fourth of July.  Here in Western New York, people start shooting the darn things off in mid-June and continue until mid-August.  I kid you not.  Sparklers and non-exploding fireworks are now legal in New  York State, but everyone knows they can simply drive across the border into Pennsylvania at Erie and buy whatever large, extremely noisy items they like.  Apparently no one’s policing those purchases, nor the use of those products within our state.

Therein lies the problem.

It was bad enough in our old neighborhood.  There were the usual professional Fourth of July displays within a couple of miles of our house, and there were those residents who felt it necessary to shoot stuff off to continue their entertainment at home.  Every year, someone loses a finger or foot, or some kid suffers burns (even if they’re only playing with sparklers).

I admit that when our kids were little, we, too, bought sparklers, and one year my husband bought those little rubber pellets that turn into snakes when lit.  Stinky, but not overly noisy, and fairly safe so long as the kids merely watched and didn’t touch.

Our new neighborhood, however, is at a whole different level of stupidness.   A family a few doors down thinks they are professional fireworks stagers, and they not only shoot off bottle rockets, they also have those huge incendiary devices that sound like bombs going off.  As does one of the neighbors behind us, and one over on the corner.  Those things are not only loud, they shake the whole house.  These lunatics have already started this year, and will continue well into the end of summer.  It’s not fun for the rest of us.  It’s so bad some days that I suspect anyone who has lived in a war zone would be hiding in a closet or under a bed, suffering from serious PTSD.  Now we understand why the neighbors right next to us, on both sides, left town around this time last year.

Which brings me to the dilemma.

Hubby wants to take Puppy Cody to a hotel on July 4 (never mind that she’s exposed to the noise, smell, and vibration for weeks before and weeks after).  I think it’s better to keep her in her own home with windows shut, AC running, and Mom by her side.  There are lots of places both downstairs and upstairs that can become her little hidey-hole.

When we were doing construction at the old house, we had to take Cody overnight to a hotel because we had no bathroom or kitchen facilities for two days.  It was a nightmare I don’t wish to repeat.  Cody is skittish in new locations and around strange people.  We had to literally drag her into the hotel and down the hall, and drag her back out when it was time for her business.  Then we had to drag her over to the lawn area and drag her around urging her to do something for crying out loud.  She refused the dinner we brought with us, but come evening she did settle into her doggie bed, which we also brought along.  However, in the morning we discovered she had been so traumatized that she peed her bed (and I mean, totally saturated it).  She hadn’t peed inside or on any bedding since she was three months old.

Perhaps we could ask the vet to prescribe a mild sedative.  However, we tried that with our German Shepherd, and all that did was make him a mean drunk.  He still wanted to protect us against the terror outside and couldn’t understand why everything was out of whack.



I’m open to suggestions.  Those of you with dogs know what I’m talking about, and perhaps some of you have, in fact, had dogs in war zones.  Which is better – strange hotel, or hunkering down in her own home?  She’s going to hear the noise regardless of where we are.

Comments, anyone?

I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at
Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalie Studio


This entry was posted in Holidays, Pets, That's Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to To Leave or Not to Leave: A Dog Owner’s Dilemma

  1. ksbeth says:

    I don’t have a dog, but am sorry for all who have to endure this season of loud noises

    Liked by 1 person

  2. markbialczak says:

    I’d keep Cody home and give her a single Benadryl tablet to calm her down. We used that with Ellie B on her first long car ride to Cape Cod when she was a pup, and again when she had an allergy skin itch, and she slept soundly with no ill effects afterward, CM. I am surely no fan of home fireworks, either!


  3. Rivergirl says:

    We had friends who spent the summer at a lake. Fireworks every night for weeks around the 4th. They bought their two dogs something called thunder jackets. Can’t remember where she got them but she said it helped calm them down.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    I would definitely stay at home in familiar surroundings. Ruby was a guide dog, so very calm and in phased by any loud noises or vibrations. I hope this link might help you 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan Antion says:

    We have tried the sedatives in the past, but the dogs “over ride” them in one nervous heartbeat. With Maddie, we use her Thundershirt. We put it on her as soon as it gets dark, and the idiots come out. It works pretty well. Of course the windows are shut and the A/C is on. (I don’t get a commission)

    Liked by 1 person

    • My daughter tried the Thunder shirt for one of her dogs and it didn’t work. We actually use the Thunder leash for walking, and that only works some, so probably Cody isn’t a dog that can be comforted that way. I’ll just keep her close to me, at home, or let her find a hiding place inside the house.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. simplywendi says:

    I usually won’t give advice about anything but since I have lived through this I will tell you what our vet told us. We lived in a neighborhood where people would celebrate the 4th all summer……….but between the 3rd and the 5th is was nuts. People would even shoot off guns in the air………we were legitimately scared. Our poor dog freaked out. We asked about a sedative and his advice was, sometimes it makes a dog worse. Now they are scared and feel weird and out of it and they can’t understand why and can act out. So, we did what you have already listed. Shut windows, had the a/c running, we also ran boxed fans and had the tv on. It was still loud, but sitting on the couch with the family while we watched movies was great for her. So sorry!


    • Thank you. I’m so glad to hear from someone who had that same experience with doggie sedatives. I was amazed at how our German Shepherd overrode the medication and merely got mean instead of calm. I suspect Cody would do the same since she’s at least half German Shepherd. We’ll just hunker down and try to keep things as calm as possible. (People shooting off guns here would not surprise me. Even though we are in a decent neighborhood, we’re quite close to the city line, and last month there were shootings almost every night on the city side of the line. Fourth of July would just be an excuse to do even more damage.)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ladyryl says:

    I would stay home and ride it out. Phoenix is afraid of thunder and fireworks and would much rather hide under my desk and follow me around at home than relocate to a strange location with no loud booming going on. We tried a Thundershirt and it didn’t work for her, she still quivers under the desk.

    Just try and take her outside for a pee before the crazy starts and then again afterwards if she’ll go and ride it out indoors inbetween. You can try original Gravol or Benadryl if she will take one and see if the sedative qualities will work to help calm her. Otherwise try and see if she will lay under a blanket or just let her curl up close to you.

    Good luck this summer and hopefully she doesn’t get too stressed out!
    (P.S. Phoenix sends her love and commiseration Cody’s way)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re the second person who suggested Benadryl, and that sounds like an excellent idea. I’m going to ask our vet about that. My daughter tried the Thunder shirt for one of her dogs, and it didn’t work, so I’m not likely to try that. Probably hugs are just as good. (Good luck with Phoenix, too. I hate this time of year.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • ladyryl says:

        We don’t find that either work for Phoenix unfortunately, so we are stuck just dealing with her quivering every time a storm goes by or the booms of fireworks go off.
        Our vet did say we could try either and see if that helped when we were still trying to find her some relief. Checking with your vet is definitely a good idea and hugs are always a safe and healthy alternative to meds any night… LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Check with your vet and see if she has any suggestions. There are some natural tranquilizers that seem to help for some dogs. We are lucky that our dogs don’t seem to care at all about the bangs.


    • Possibly you’re far enough in the country that the booms aren’t right outside your door. Here, they’re literally two doors away (approximately 150 feet). Two people have suggested Benadryl; I’m going to ask our vet about that. Either way, I plan to hunker down at home. Heck, if things got too bad, we could all go into the basement pantry – you can’t hear much of anything down there!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jim says:

    talk with your vet. I used to love going to fireworks displays but can’t any more. I feel for the puppy.


  10. I think familiarity to be honest. Our previous dog hid in the bath or burrowed under the pillows on our bed.
    Maggie didn’t like the noise (we’ve had it from the end of October to January in the past) and would find somewhere dark to hide until it was all over. Last year it wasn’t so bad, but we think it’s because her hearing’s going as she doesn’t react to thunder either.
    Have only used a sedative once for a dog and that was for thunder. It was pitiful to watch and I swore never again. Everyone and every dog is different. There are thunder blankets which come highly recommended (never tried, so can’t say) but reassurance and closeness are important. Wish they’d make silent fireworks with all the prettiness as I feel for pets who are terrified of a noise they don’t understand.
    Good luck with Puppy Cody. ❤


  11. Karen J says:

    Good luck with Cody this month, CM!
    Our Husky mix doesn’t reportedly have too much difficulty with fireworks. We’ll see how things pan out 😉


    • Some dogs are more sensitive than others. Riggsie, our huge protective German Shepherd, was terrified of loud noises, but Morgan, our little border collie mix was braver. She was also afraid but she’d go out and do her business anyway and didn’t find somewhere to hide during the event.


  12. Anne says:

    I’d go with staying home, cranking up the AC, putting on calming music, and going into the basement whenever necessary. I hate fireworks. I’m with Cody. It’s really dry here this year and I’m afraid they are going to set the woods on fire. People have no sense. There are laws about when you can use them here, but of course, not a lot of enforcement. It sounds like going somewhere else is an even more traumatic option. Have you ever tried a “thunder shirt”? I’ve heard they help some dogs.


    • Hi, Anne. We’ve opted to hunker down at home and our vet prescribed a very mild sedative to take the edge of Cody’s terror. I think we’ll get through ok. Fortunately, it’s been raining every other day here and the ground is fairly well saturated. You’re right that people have no sense, and law enforcement here is a joke when it comes to fireworks. Unless someone gets seriously hurt, they just ignore it.


  13. Pingback: So, How Scary Was It? | Cordelia's Mom, Still

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.