Fireworks and Pets Advice

The organisers of the fireworks event understand it can be stressful for some pets, the Blue Cross has this advice for pet owners and fireworks.

Small pets and fireworks

Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, ferrets and birds all need to be treated with special care when fireworks are being let off. These animals are easily frightened. Blue Cross advises that owners of such types of small animal should follow these precautions:

  • Hutches/cages and enclosures should, if possible, be brought into a quiet room indoors, or into a garage or shed.
  • Give your pet extra bedding to burrow into so it feels safe.
  • If you cannot bring your pet’s hutch inside, you should turn its enclosure around so that it faces a wall orfence instead of the open garden.
  • Cover any aviaries or hutches with thick blankets or a duvet to block out the sight of the fireworks and deaden the sound of the bangs, but make sure there is enough ventilation.

Dogs, cats and fireworks

  • Always keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off
  • Make sure your dog is walked earlier in the day before the fireworks start
  • Close all windows and doors, and block off catflaps to stop pets escaping and to keep noise to a minimum. Draw the curtains, and if the animals are used to the sounds of TV or radio, switch them on (but not too loudly) in order to block out some of the noise of the fireworks.
  • Ensure dogs are wearing some form of easily readable identification (ID) – even in the house. They should have at least a collar and tag.
  • Think about fitting pets with a microchip, so that if they do run away they have a better chance of being quickly reunited with you
  • Prepare a ‘den’ for your pet where it can feel safe and comfortable – perhaps under a bed with some of your old clothes. They may like to hide there when the fireworks start.
  • Let your pet pace around, whine, miaow and hide in a corner if they want to. Do not try to coax them out – it’s just trying to find safety, and should not be disturbed.
  • Stay calm, act normally and give lots of praise for calm behaviour. It’s OK to cuddle and stroke your pet if it helps them relax, but if they prefer to hide under your bed, then let them do this instead.
  • Avoid leaving your pet alone during such potentially upsetting events. If you do have to leave the house, don’t get angry with your pet if you find they have been destructive or toileted after being left on its own. Shouting at a frightened pet will only make them more stressed.
  • Don’t tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off, ie outside a shop while you pop inside, or leave them in the garden or in your car.
  • Never take your dog to a fireworks display. Even if they doesn’t bark or whimper at the noise, it doesn’t mean they are happy. Excessive panting and yawning can indicate that your dog is stressed.