Fireworks – 12 Top Tips To Keep Your Pet Safe And Stress Free

Fireworks are exciting and eagerly anticipated by many people, yet for the majority of pets it can be a stressful and dangerous time. 

A UK animal charity reports a significant increase in pets requiring calming medication around Bonfire night.  They also report an increase in pets involved in road traffic accidents at this time, scared by loud bangs and running into the road. Meanwhile a recent survey by an animal rescue and charity revealed almost half our dogs (45%) display signs of fear at the sound of fireworks. Similarly, cats and other animals find this time of year extremely distressing.

Keeping your pet safe and stress free during this potentially anxious time of year is crucial. Ignoring their fear could increase their stress levels and could result in aggressive or defensive behaviour. 

Tip #1

If you are heading out to watch a display, ask a friend to look after your pet. Don't leave them alone in the house. This can cause increased anxiety and add to their stress levels.

Tip #2

Do not take your dogs to a firework display. As well as the loud noises from the fireworks, a lot of people will also be a nerve-racking and overwhelming environment for the dog.

Tip #3

Make sure they have a comfortable bed, crate or space to relax in. If thy are not used to a crate, this is not the time to introduce one. Have their bed, blanket or favourite spot on the couch ready for them to escape to.

Tip #4

Don't punish your pet for suddenly toileting indoors. This can be a sign that they are anxious and scouring them can add additional  stress.

Tip #5

Don’t tie your dog up outside whilst fireworks are being let off, for example, outside a shop while you pop inside.

Tip #6

Walk your dog during the day to avoid having to walk them during a display. It's best to keep dogs and cats indoors in the evening.

Tip #7

Have a litter tray indoors for your cat, in case they would rather do their business inside, or if they are being kept indoors.

Tip #8

Draw the curtains to minimise noises and flashes of light.

Tip #9

Try to behave as normally as possible. Dogs and cats can pick up on your anxiety and changes in routine. If they get fed in a certain place, at a certain time - stick to it. If your cat likes sitting in a certain spot, make sure they can. 

Tip #10

Play soothing sounds or have the TV or radio on as white noise to distract your pet.

Tip #11

There are a number of products that can help reduce your pets anxiety during this stressful time. Pheromone therapy- plug in diffusers or sprays can be used in your pet’s environment to help reassure them during this stressful time. For Cats: The special scent (odourless to people and other animals) that Feliway utilizes is a replication of the pheromone that cats leave naturally when they are feeling comfortable in their environment. For Dogs: Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the natural comforting pheromone released by a mother dog to reassure her puppies.

Tip #12

Play with your pet. A new toy, chew or blanket can prove a welcome distraction and comforter.If you act as if everything is fine and normal, your pet will pick up on your calm and relaxed body language.