Keeping Your Pets Safe During Firework Season

Bonfire night is usually an exciting and fun time for families but for many animals, it can prove to be a stressful and scary time. The loud bangs and bright flashes created by fireworks can cause pets to run away or act aggressively out of fear. During the winter months, there are various celebrations where fireworks are set off. It can be difficult to know how to react during these situations, especially if you are a new pet parent. It is important to keep your pet safe and calm during firework season. Plan for these events to try and prevent your pets from feeling scared and anxious.

Stress and Anxiety

Every pet reacts to fireworks in different ways. If your pet is displaying unusual symptoms or behaviour, then it is likely they are finding the firework season stressful. The RSPCA highlight the importance of watching out for signs of stress. Below are some of the key signs to look out for. 

  • Trembling and shaking 
  • Clinging to owners 
  • Excessive barking 
  • Cowering and hiding behind furniture 
  • Trying to run away 
  • Going to the toilet in the house 
  • Pacing and panting 
  • Off their food or refusing to eat 
  • Destructive behaviour (chewing furniture etc.) 

It’s important that you contact your vet for advice if you have any concerns. The PDSA also have some useful advice on looking after your pets during the fireworks season. For some easy remedies on how you can calm your dog’s anxiety, click here. 

Top Tips for Bonfire Night  

  • Plan and make a note of key dates in your local area so that you know when fireworks near to your home are likely to begin. Whilst it’s not possible to know when every neighbour is planning to set off fireworks, you can still note down any organised events and have a date in your diary for when firework displays tend to begin in your area. This way you can make sure that you’re there for your pet when they need you. 
  • Before the fireworks start, take your dog for a long walk to help tire them out so they feel sleepier and more relaxed later on. Try to walk them during the lighter hours when there aren’t likely to be any fireworks as this will help reduce the risk of anxiety from loud bangs and flashes. 
  • Play some additional background noise from the tv or radio to help reduce the noise from the fireworks. Closing your curtains and windows can also help to muffle the sound. 
  • Create a comfortable “safe space” or den inside for your pet to hide in should they need to. It is important not to force your pet to use the den if they do not want to. 
  • Staying at home with your pets may make them feel safer. Keep doors, windows and cat/dog flaps closed to keep your pets safely indoors. It’s also advisable to get your pets micro-chipped in the event that they do escape or run away from home. 
  • Consider using some calming remedies, for example, a pheromone plug-in to deliver calming scents to your pets. Always seek advice before using them. 
  • Move outdoor pets into their beds and give them extra bedding in case they want to hide. 
  • Try to keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible, such as feeding times and providing their food in their usual environment.