Every pet owner hates it… Fireworks night. Or should we say fireworks month, or maybe even season! It is harder than ever to keep your pet calm during the fireworks season, especially as home fireworks are more popular and firework displays are not just organised events on planned days.

There are a number of ways to try to reduce your pet’s stress; some need to be put in place before the stressful event and others during the stressful event.

BEFORE:

  • Fireworks/thunderstorm sound CD or Youtube – Start with the sound of fireworks on very low in the background, months before the firework season and gradually increase the sound over time to desensitise your pet to the noise.
  • Behaviourist – If your pet is very noise phobic, we would advise seeking help from a behaviourist. Do this WELL before the stressful event as behavioural training takes a lot of time and input.
  • Ask neighbours to tell you of any planned home fireworks.
  • Make sure your dog/cat has a collar and tag and are microchipped in case of escape.
  • Feed before any expected disturbances as your anxious pet may not want to eat later.
  • Walk your dog on the lead whilst still during daylight so they can go to the toilet before the anxiety starts.
  • Keep pets indoors – including bunnies and guinea pigs if possible.
  • Shut all doors/windows and draw the curtains.
  • LOCK/BLOCK UP CAT FLAPS.

DURING:

  • Before opening the front door (e.g. during Halloween), shut your animals inside a room to prevent escape.
  • Make a den for your pet. Some animals are more relaxed with an item of clothing with your scent on.
  • Act/behave normally with normal indoor routines.
  • Close the curtains and turn TV volume up

Consider using calming products. Each animal responds differently so it can be a case of trial and error to find the best one for your pet. You can use several products at the same time. For the sprays, target areas that your pet likes to spend time and never spray directly onto your pet. Options include:

DOGS

  • Adaptil – Replicates pheromones produced by mother dogs to promote relaxation. Available as plugin diffusers, spritzer spays and collars. Start using before the expected scary event. No odour.
  • PetRemedy – Herbal blend to relax many species (including humans!). Available as plug-in diffusers, spritzer sprays, bandanas and wipes. Start before the scary event. Mild odour.
  • Nutracalm – Capsule given either whole or sprinkled on food daily around the scary event. Nonpharmaceutical but can be very effective to relax your pet.
  • ThunderShirt – Tight fitting specialised jacket which reduces stress through generalised mild compression of the body. Must be fitted correctly.
  • Medications – Full sedatives cannot be prescribed as veterinary monitoring is needed and many will simply stop your pet SHOWING fear even though it is still aware of the scary event and scared inside (e.g. ACP). Some milder products are available in certain circumstances but speak to your vet about these first – as a general rule, they should be used as a last resort.
  • Sileo – Gel that is applied to your dog’s gums.
  • Benzodiazepines – Tablet anti-anxiety drug.

CATS

  • Feliway – Works via pheromones to relax your cat. Available as a plug-in diffuser and spritzer sprays. Start before the scary event. No odour.
  • PetRemedy – See above.
  • Nutracalm – See above.

NEVER!

Take your dog to a fireworks display.

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