How to Help Dogs and Cats Cope with Fireworks

How to Keep Dogs and Cats Calm During Fireworks Season

Fireworks, whether on Bonfire Night, at a party, or on New Year’s Eve, are fun for us, but not always for our pets. Fireworks can cause them to feel anxiety and fear. So how do you help dogs and cats with fireworks?

Recent statistics from the PDSA PAW Report 2022 show that 41% of UK dogs and 30% of UK cats are scared of fireworks. If ignored, firework fears can progress to a more serious noise phobia. Even the slightest noise can cause panic and excessive reactions. If your dog is scared of fireworks, shaking, restlessness and barking are all common behaviours. Likewise, cats and fireworks can often be a bad combination, with many cats hiding and sometimes vocalising.

Here are some of our top tips to help reduce anxiety and reassure your pet.

Plan

There are things you can do in the lead up to Bonfire Night to help reduce the risk of anxiety, and help to calm dogs and cats during fireworks.

Diary Check

Know the times of your local displays so you can plan ahead and ensure your cat or dog is safely indoors. Also be aware of firework displays at nearby homes, and special events such as Halloween.

Buy a Calming Product

There’s a range of products that can really help reduce the amount of stress your pet may feel. Supplements like Zylkene, YuMove Calming Care, and Anxitane contain natural ingredients which promote relaxation and encourage calmer behaviour. Some supplements need to be used for several days prior to the stressful event for optimal effect, so check the product instructions in advance.

how to keep your pets calm during firework season

Diffusers such as Adaptil, Beaphar and Feliway Optimum are great for constant support in the home. They release pheromones which give dogs and cats a sense of security in stressful situations. It’s recommended that the diffusers are plugged in two weeks prior to the event. Once in, they can last up to 4 weeks.

You can also try a calming collar, such as this one from Adaptil. It works in a similar way to diffusers, by releasing a special pheromone that dogs find soothing.

Anxiety shirts for dogs, like ThunderShirt can be used alongside Adaptil diffusers for an even more effective solution. Ideal for fear of fireworks, thunderstorms, cars or travel, the Thundershirt is easy to put on and ensures a consistent pressure on the core of the dog. This pressure has a calming effect for most dogs.

Prepare

In the week leading up to Bonfire Night, here’s how to help your dog or cat prepare for fireworks.

Daylight Walks

It’s a good idea to walk your dog during daylight hours. This will reduce the chances of them encountering any early fireworks while out of the house.

Up-to-date Microchips and Collars

Check your pet’s ID information. If your pet is scared there’s an increased chance they will run away. Make sure their name and address are up to date so you can find them quickly.

Build a Den

Building a den for your pet on Fireworks Night gives them a safe place they can hide in. It’s very important the den is set up a few weeks before Bonfire Night to give them time to get familiar with it.

There are a few important things to consider when building your pet’s den:

Location

Put the den in your pet’s favourite room where they’d usually spend the evening and feel comfortable.

Free Access

Allow your pet to access the den at all times. This way it’s their choice to spend time there and they’ll grow to like it more and more.

NEVER force them to go into the den as punishment. This makes their safe place negative.

Size

The den has to be a suitable size for your cat or dog. They need to be able to comfortably stand up, lie down, move around and stretch out.

Dens for Dogs

Smells

Familiar smells can be an important factor when it comes to how to help a dog with fireworks. Fill the den with them – used blankets, towels or old clothes are good choices.

Treats and Toys

Make sure the den is a positive place for your pet to sit and relax. You can reinforce this with some treats and toys.

Sound

Putting a blanket over their den can help muffle any frightening lights and sounds. It also makes it feel like an enclosed and safe space. Alternatively, if your dog is used to the sounds of a TV or radio, switch them on in order to mask the loud bangs of the fireworks.

Dens for Cats

Go Higher

Cats feel more comfortable somewhere high up. We know it isn’t always possible to make them a den somewhere high up, but they will appreciate it if you can.

The More the Better

Make sure you have a separate hiding place for each cat, and then one extra. This gives them a choice and can help make them feel comfortable.

Protect

Don’t Leave Your Pet Alone During Fireworks Displays

Avoid leaving your pet alone during the fireworks event. Act normally and give them lots of praise for calm behaviour. If they allow you, give them a cuddle or a stroke to help them relax.

Secure Your Home

Close all windows and doors and check all available exits are secure to avoid your pet from running away if they become scared.

Play music or put the TV on louder to mask the noise. For more ideas on how to block out firework sounds for your dog, read our blog.

We hope this helps you with your Fireworks Night preparation. Following the advice above is a great way to address feelings of anxiety in your cat or dog, and help them to cope with fireworks. Visit the Animed Direct website to view all of our calming products for dogs and cats. You can also speak to your vet for more recommendations on how to support your pet during fireworks.

Calming products