Fireworks are a common feature of celebrations like Independence Day, New Year’s Eve, and other festive occasions. While they bring joy and excitement to humans, they can be a source of significant stress and anxiety for pets. At the Animal Care Center, we understand the challenges pet owners face during these times and are here to provide you with comprehensive strategies to keep your pets calm during fireworks.

Why is it Hard to Keep Pets Calm During Fireworks?

Pets have much more sensitive hearing than humans. The loud, unpredictable noises of fireworks can be startling and terrifying to them. Not to mention, the flashes of light and the smell of gunpowder can add to their anxiety. 

Recognizing the signs of stress in your pet is the best way to help keep pets calm during fireworks.

Signs of Stress in Pets

  • Dogs:
    • Trembling or shaking
    • Excessive barking or howling
    • Hiding or seeking comfort from their owners
    • Pacing or restlessness
    • Destructive behavior
    • Drooling or panting excessively
  • Cats:
    • Hiding or cowering
    • Increased aggression or irritability
    • Excessive grooming
    • Refusal to eat
    • Trembling or shaking

By recognizing these signs, you can take proactive steps to help calm your pet during fireworks displays.

keep pets calm

Preparing Your Home to Keep Pets Calm During Fireworks

Creating a safe and comfortable environment for your pet during fireworks can significantly reduce their stress levels. 

Here are some tips on how to prepare your home:

1. Create a Safe Space

Designate a quiet, comfortable area in your home where your pet can retreat when they feel scared. This space should be away from windows and doors to minimize exposure to the sights and sounds of fireworks. 

Consider using a room that your pet already feels comfortable in, such as a bedroom or a cozy corner in the living room.

2. Soundproof the Area

Reduce the impact of loud noises by soundproofing your pet’s safe space. Close windows and doors, and use heavy curtains to help block out noise. You can also play calming music or use a white noise machine to drown out the sounds of fireworks.

3. Provide Comfort Items

Make sure your pet has access to their favorite toys, blankets, and bedding in their safe space. These familiar items can provide comfort and reassurance. For dogs, consider using a crate if they are crate-trained, as it can serve as a secure den-like environment.

Calming Techniques to Keep Pets Calm During Fireworks

In addition to preparing your home, there are several techniques you can use to help calm your pet during fireworks:

1. Stay Calm and Reassuring

Pets often take cues from their owners’ behavior. If you remain calm and composed, it can help reassure your pet that there is no real danger. Avoid fussing over them excessively, as this can sometimes reinforce their anxiety.

2. Use Calming Aids

There are various products available that can help reduce anxiety in pets:

  • Thundershirts: These snug-fitting garments apply gentle pressure to your pet’s body, similar to swaddling a baby, which can have a calming effect.
  • Calming Pheromones: Products like Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats release synthetic pheromones that mimic the ones animals produce naturally to calm themselves.
  • Herbal Remedies and Supplements: Natural remedies such as CBD oil, valerian root, and chamomile can help reduce anxiety in pets. Consult with your veterinarian before using any new supplements.

3. Distraction

Distracting your pet with engaging activities can help take their mind off the fireworks. You can try keeping your pets occupied by:

  • Providing them with puzzle toys filled with treats
  • Engaging in playtime
  • Practicing training exercises

4. Practice Desensitization

Desensitization involves gradually exposing your pet to the sounds of fireworks in a controlled manner to help them become accustomed to the noise. You can do this by playing recordings of fireworks at a low volume and gradually increasing the volume over time while rewarding your pet for remaining calm. Start this process well in advance of fireworks events.

Keeping Outdoor Pets Calm During Fireworks

For pets that typically spend time outdoors, it’s essential to take extra precautions during fireworks:

1. Bring Them Indoors

Whenever possible, bring outdoor pets inside during fireworks displays. This will help shield them from the loud noises and reduce their anxiety. Ensure they have a safe and secure space indoors where they can retreat.

2. Secure the Yard

If bringing your pet indoors is not an option, make sure your yard is secure. Check for any gaps or weaknesses in fencing that your pet could use to escape if they become frightened. Additionally, provide a sheltered area, such as a doghouse or covered patio, where your pet can feel safer.

3. Update Identification

In case your pet does manage to escape, ensure they have up-to-date identification. This includes a collar with an ID tag and a microchip with your current contact information. This will increase the chances of a safe return if they get lost.

If You Can’t Keep Pets Calm During Fireworks, Rely on Veterinary Assistance

For pets with severe anxiety, it may be necessary to seek veterinary assistance. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on managing your pet’s anxiety and may prescribe medication if needed.

1. Anti-Anxiety Medication

For some pets, over-the-counter calming aids may not be sufficient. Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-anxiety medication to help manage your pet’s stress during fireworks. It’s essential to follow your veterinarian’s instructions and administer the medication as directed.

2. Behavioral Therapy

In cases of extreme anxiety, behavioral therapy with a professional animal behaviorist may be beneficial. A behaviorist can work with you and your pet to develop coping strategies and address underlying issues that contribute to their anxiety.

Post-Fireworks Care

After the fireworks have ended, it’s essential to continue providing support and care for your pet:

  1. Gradual Reintroduction: If your pet has been hiding during the fireworks, allow them to come out on their own when they feel ready. Avoid forcing them out of their safe space, as this can increase their stress.
  2. Maintain a Calm Environment: Continue to keep the environment calm and quiet for a while after the fireworks have ended. This will help your pet gradually return to a state of relaxation.
  3. Monitor for Lingering Effects: Some pets may experience lingering anxiety even after the fireworks have stopped. Monitor your pet for any signs of continued stress, such as changes in behavior, appetite, or sleep patterns. If you notice any concerning symptoms, consult with your veterinarian.

keep pets calm

Tips for Future Fireworks Events

Planning ahead can help make future fireworks events less stressful for your pet:

  1. Start Desensitization Early: If you know that fireworks events are coming up, start desensitization training well in advance. Gradual exposure to the sounds of fireworks can help reduce your pet’s fear over time.
  2. Establish a Routine: Establishing a calming routine can help your pet feel more secure during fireworks. This might include providing a special treat, engaging in a favorite activity, or using calming aids.
  3. Stay Informed: Keep informed about local fireworks events so you can prepare in advance. Knowing when and where fireworks will occur allows you to take proactive steps to ensure your pet’s comfort and safety.

Do Your Best to Keep Pets Calm During Fireworks

Fireworks can be a challenging time for pets, but with the right preparation and strategies, you can help keep pets calm during fireworks. By creating a secure environment, using calming techniques, and seeking veterinary assistance when needed, you can reduce your pet’s anxiety and ensure their well-being during fireworks displays.

At the Animal Care Center, we are dedicated to helping you provide the best care for your pets. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Your pet’s health and happiness are our top priorities, and we are here to support you every step of the way.