How to Keep Dogs and Cats Calm During Fireworks

cat looking out a window

Bonfire Night brings lots of fun outdoor activities, including gathering around to watch spectacular fireworks displays. While this can be exciting for us, it can be a very different experience for our pets.

The sound of fireworks can be very stressful for many cats and dogs, so it’s important to know what you can do to keep them as calm and relaxed as possible.


How do I tell if my pet is scared of fireworks?

If you’ve had your cat or dog for at least a couple of years, you’ll likely know the answer to this already. But if you’re new to pet ownership, there are some signs to look out for as Bonfire Night comes around and the fireworks start going off.

Hiding – This is one of the most obvious signs for both stressed dogs and cats on Bonfire Night. If you pet is running away and hiding at the sound of fireworks, it’s clear they really don’t like them and are feeling afraid and anxious.

Restlessness – A slightly less obvious sign is your pet being more restless than usual, which can show as pacing around a lot, or excessively licking and grooming themselves. Cats especially like to use grooming to comfort themselves, so this is a sign to watch out for.

Not eating or drinking – Even if your pet doesn’t show a lot of visible signs of anxiety during fireworks, not wanting to eat or drink can also be a sign they’re feeling stressed and afraid. 


How to keep your dog calm on Bonfire Night

  1. Give them a safe space – The RSPCA recommends doing a bit of planning ahead before Bonfire Night itself by making sure your dog has somewhere safe to go if they feel stressed. This can be their crate if you use one, or just a quiet corner with their bed and plenty of familiar toys and blankets.
  2. Use a diffuser – A popular option for keeping dogs calm during Bonfire Night is to use a pheromone diffuser. You can find these at pet shops and veterinary surgeries, and they work by releasing calming chemicals into the air, helping to keep your dog more relaxed.
  3. Keep windows closed – Minimising the sound of fireworks will help, as well as blocking out the flashes of light by keeping the curtains drawn.
  4. Give them attention – They probably won’t be in the mood to play, but you can try providing distractions or simply just staying with them and comforting them as much as possible. They’ll feel safer and more relaxed with you nearby.
  5. Use distractions – Speaking of distractions, you could try using calming music to help soothe your dog, or even putting something on the TV to drown out the sound of the fireworks. But don’t just add more loud noises as that could make things feel even more stressful.


How to keep your cat calm on Bonfire Night

  1. Keep them indoors – This is important if your cat hates the sound of fireworks. If they’re left outside, they could run off in a panic and put themselves in danger. If they normally spend time outside, be sure to bring them in earlier in the day on Bonfire Night before any fireworks get going.
  2. Provide places to hide – Cats love to have places they can go to feel safe and secure, so it’s great if you can provide these so they don’t have to dash under the sofa or behind the washing machine. A covered bed or just a box they can use will give them somewhere they can hide.
  3. Use a diffuser – As with dogs, there are calming diffusers designed specifically for cats, and they can be found at most major pet shops and at the vets. You can plug it in and get it going for a day or two before Bonfire Night to help your cat feeling relaxed.
  4. Play with them – A good distraction in the form of a new toy could help to keep your cat focused on having fun rather than the sound of distant fireworks. Of course, if they’re really not in the mood to play, don’t force them. Just stay close and talk to them to comfort them.
  5. Play calming music – It’s been shown that classical music can have a calming effect on cats, so playing some could help to reduce their stress levels. It can also help to lessen the impact of those loud firework bangs.


While you’re looking after your pets this Bonfire Night, don’t forget to check out Asda Money Pet Insurance for both cats and dogs.

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