Pets and fireworks
Many animals find fireworks scary.
Owners will often see their pets struggling, either frozen with fear or, in the most dangerous circumstances – bolting, rearing up or charging fences.
In situations like these, it’s hard to know how to react or what to do. Especially if you’re a new pet parent, it may not be something you’ve even considered in advance of firework season.
However, if you’re one of the 69% of UK adults taking measures to help relax or prepare your pets, horses and livestock for firework season, there are some helpful hints and tips that’ll help.
How to calm pets during fireworks
Before the firework season begins
Planning ahead can help pets cope with the fireworks season. Before the fireworks season starts, provide your pet with a safe haven.
This should be a quiet area, so choose one of the quietest rooms in your home – a place where they feel in control. Don’t interfere with your pet when they’re in that area.
Train your pet to associate the area with positive experiences, e.g. by leaving their favourite toys there, but not imposing yourself at any time. Use a variety of their favourite toys.
Swap them regularly, putting them away when not in use so that your pet doesn’t become bored with them.
With time, pets can learn that this place is safe and enjoyable.
When fireworks go off, they may choose to go there because they know, in that place, they are safe. It’s important that your pet has access to this safe haven at all times – even when you’re not at home.
Calm your pet during firework nights with Classic FM
69% of UK adults with a pet take at least one measure to help relax or prepare their animal for firework season.
Playing relaxing music is the most common. That is why Classic FM’s pet classics is such a massive hit.
When the fireworks start
- If you have a Dog walk him/her during daylight hours to avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off.
- Move your pet to the safe haven each evening before the fireworks begin.
- Provide toys and other things that they enjoy in the safe haven.
- Make sure there are things for you to do too, so your pet isn’t left alone.
- Close windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks.
- Blackout your safe haven, so they can’t see any flashes outside.
- Put on some music or TV to mask the firework sounds.
- Ignore the firework noises yourself.
- Play with a toy to see if your pet wants to join in, but don’t force them to play.
- You could also talk to your vet about pheromone diffusers.
These disperse calming chemicals into the room and may be a good option for your pet.
In some cases, your vet may even prescribe medication.
Don’t stress your cat by trying to tempt them out.
Leave them until they’re ready.
Keep them in to avoid them becoming stressed.
Microchip your pets in case they’re startled and escape outside.
How to help small animals during fireworks
If it is not possible to bring them inside:
Partly cover outside cages and pens with blankets so it’s soundproofed and hidden, leaving an area for animals to look out.
Provide bedding for small animals to burrow in.
Consider bringing them indoors at whatever cost.
Firework phobia is a treatable condition and animals don’t have to suffer every year.
Seek advice from your vet who will, if necessary, be able to refer you to a professional clinical animal behaviourist.
Never punish your pets when they’re scared, as this will only make things worse in the long run.
Going to an organised event will reduce the number of fireworks disturbing animals.
Please only let fireworks off on or around traditional celebration dates (Diwali, Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year).
Most owners will already know to expect fireworks on these dates and should have prepared accordingly to help their animals cope.
Look for low-noise fireworks, and let your neighbours know well in advance so animals including horses and livestock, can be prepared.
Never set off fireworks near livestock, as frightened animals – especially horses – can injure themselves when frightened.
Remember, fireworks can also disturb wildlife so steer clear of known habitats like lakes with waterfowl and trees with roosting birds.
Check bonfires for wildlife before lighting as animals like hedgehogs may be hibernating.