Pets and Fireworks: Everything You Can Do To Help Them

Firework season is approaching as we get closer to Bonfire Night and when they’re set off, we need to consider…

Firework season is approaching as we get closer to Bonfire Night and when they’re set off, we need to consider our pets. Having had pets all my life, and with two animal behaviour degrees in my pocket, I wanted to help you reassure your pets during this frightening time.

Step 1: Preparation

The one good thing about Bonfire Night is that it’s predictable. You know what will happen and when, and usually posters and flyers will tell you how close the fireworks will be set off (although this doesn’t account for private displays in neighbouring gardens). The best thing you can do in preparation is to create a den. A ‘safe-haven’ per se, where your dog or cat can escape to. Build it quite early on so that they have time to explore it and enjoy it without the stress of loud bangs in the background. I’d recommend under the table, under the stairs or even in your wardrobe. Fill it with blankets, towels and pop a couple of your pet’s favourite toys in there too. The next thing you can do is make sure to take your pet out for its evening walk before it gets dark. This way, they’ll be knackered by the time the fireworks go off and if all goes to plan, they’ll sleep through it!

A dog laid on a sofa

Step 2: During the fireworks

Draw all the curtains to hide any flashes and shut any windows to muffle out the sound. Avoid putting any live screenings (such as the news) on TV that might air fireworks. However, you can optimise the TV and/or radio by putting on music or something calming that can overwhelm the muffled bangs. I’d also recommend leaving all your internal doors open so your pet never feels trapped. Don’t feel disheartened if your pet doesn’t use your den you’ve made. They may end up preferring simply going behind the sofa, or hiding under the bed. Just make sure they feel safe and comforted. If it’s your pet’s first fireworks, it will probably be best if you don’t leave them in the house alone on Fireworks Night. They will want someone there to reassure them and comfort them so best to stay in with them.

If you manage to do all these little steps, your pet will feel as reassured as possible. Remember there is only so much you can do but as long as you’re there for them during this scary time, they should feel comforted.

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