Using Acupressure to Combat Firecracker Fear

Fireworks produce loud BANGS and flashing lights that can delight humans, but they’re not so much fun for animals. The sounds and lights can scare any dog, cat, horse, deer, fox, coyote, bird, squirrel, rabbit, and even humans with PTSD or light/sound sensitivity. Learn how acupressure can help keep your dog or cat calm during fireworks.

Fireworks are a popular way to celebrate events depending on the country and culture. In the United States, we mark the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve celebrations with fireworks. People have tried to reduce the impact of fireworks because of the fire danger, but not because of their effect on animals. However, fireworks impact companion animals and wildlife. Learn how a calming acupressure massage can help your four-legged friend manage the stress and fear that fireworks cause.

How Fireworks Impact Animals

Fireworks are painful and terrifying for lots of animals and some humans. Frightened animals run helter-skelter to get away from the noise. Dogs and cats hide, get hurt, get hit by cars, cause car accidents, and run away. Shelters fill up with lost pets around holidays associated with fireworks. Wild critters suffer too. They abandon their young, get injured, and birds alter their migration patterns. Plus, fireworks pollute the air, soil, and water.

Calming Acupressure Massage Session

One way to mitigate the effects of fireworks on our animals is to provide a quiet, safe place and offer them a soothing, calming acupressure massage. There are specific acupressure points and techniques known to reduce fear and help animals settle and get comfortable.

Step 1: Bladder Meridian

Begin by gently tracing the Bladder meridian shown below. Rest one hand on your dog or cat’s body. Lay your other hand flat and slowly go down your animal’s neck about 1 inch below the midline, then over the scapula and back toward the tail. Repeat this three times on each side.

Step 2: Large Intestine 4

Next, with one hand still on the animal, glide your other hand down his leg and place the soft tip of your thumb on the webbing of his dew claw and hold, counting to 20. If there’s no dew claw, place your thumb on the scar and hold, counting to 20. This acupoint is Large Intestine 4 (LI 4), often used to relieve tension. Repeat on the opposite foreleg.

Step 3: Yin-Tang Acupoint

The Yin-Tang acupoint is just above the eyes in the third eye position. Again, place one hand on the dog or cat while your other thumb or forefinger rubs up and down on the Yin-Tang point. This is a classic point known to relax animals and reduce anxiety.

Step 4: Back to the Bladder

To complete this acupressure massage session, repeat tracing the Bladder meridian like you did when you started the session. Repeat tracing three times on both sides.

If you’re calm and relaxed while performing this session, your dog or cat will most likely follow your example. Breathing slowly and evenly indicates to your animal that you are not afraid while the loud blasts are going on.

This simple acupressure massage session helps you help your dog or cat live through a traumatic event. This is a way to express your love and care for your animal.


Amy Snow is one of the authors of ACU-DOG: A Guide to Canine Acupressure, ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure, and ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Resources, which offers books, manuals, online training courses, DVDs, apps, meridian charts, consulting, and many more acupressure learning tools and opportunities. Email: tallgrass@animalacupressure

Nancy Zidonis is one of the authors of ACU-DOG: A Guide to Canine Acupressure, ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure, and ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Resources, which offers books, manuals, online training courses, DVDs, apps, meridian charts, consulting, and many more acupressure learning tools and opportunities. Email: tallgrass@animalacupressure

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