Keeping Your Pets Safe and Calm During Fireworks

| June 28, 2024

While they can be exciting and pretty, fireworks are terrifying for our pets. Loud noises, bright lights, and unfamiliar smells can trigger fear and stress in animals, potentially leading to escape attempts, injuries, or health issues. As pet parents, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to ensure our pets remain safe and comfortable during fireworks displays or celebrations.  

Here are some firework safety tips tailored for each species. 

For Dogs

Walk them Ahead of Time: Take your dog for a walk before it gets dark so that they won’t need to use the bathroom during the firework show. 

Create a Safe Space: Set up a quiet, comfortable area indoors where your dog can retreat. This could be a room with familiar bedding and toys. 

Provide Distractions: Use background noise like calming music or white noise to mask the sound of fireworks. Interactive toys or long-lasting chews can also help distract them. 

Stay Calm and Reassuring: Your dog may look to you for cues on how to react. Stay calm, speak in soothing tones, and avoid excessive comforting if it seems to increase their anxiety. 

Keep Them Secure: Ensure all doors, windows, and gates are securely closed. If your dog is prone to bolting when frightened, consider using a leash or harness indoors. 

Consider Anxiety Aids: Consult with your vet about using anxiety-reducing aids such as calming vests or pheromone diffusers. 

For Cats

Provide Hiding Places: Cats often prefer to hide when stressed. Ensure they have access to their favourite hiding spots, like under beds or in closets. 

Create a Cozy Environment: Set up a quiet, secluded area with their bed, food and water, favourite toys, and blanket. If your cat enjoys being in their carrier, covering their carrier with a blanket can also provide an additional sense of security. 

Close Windows and Curtains: Reduce the sound and light from fireworks by closing windows and drawing curtains. This helps create a quieter, darker environment. 

Stay Indoors: Keep your cat indoors during fireworks displays to prevent them from running away or getting disoriented outside. 

Comfort Gently: Offer gentle reassurance if your cat seeks comfort but allow them to come to you on their own terms. 

For Small Domestic Animals

Secure Enclosures: Ensure enclosures or hutches are securely locked and placed in a quiet, sheltered area indoors. 

Provide Hiding Options: Offer hiding places such as tunnels, boxes, or cozy corners lined with familiar bedding. 

Cover Enclosures: Covering enclosures with a thick blanket can help muffle noise and provide a sense of security. 

Limit Exposure: Keep them indoors during fireworks displays, as loud noises can startle them and cause stress-related health issues. 

Monitor Behaviour: Watch for signs of stress such as pacing, trembling, or decreased appetite. Contact a veterinarian if you notice any concerning symptoms. 

General Tips for All Pets

Identification: Ensure your pets are wearing collars with ID tags or are microchipped with up-to-date contact information in case they escape. Toronto Humane Society’s Public Veterinary Services provides a microchip service.  

Prepare in Advance: Gradually desensitize pets to loud noises by playing recordings of fireworks at a low volume, gradually increasing the volume over time. 

Consult Your Vet: If your pet has severe anxiety or phobia of fireworks, consult with your veterinarian about potential medications or calming supplements. 

Avoid Firework Exposure: Whenever possible, avoid bringing pets to fireworks displays or areas where fireworks are being set off. 

Stay Vigilant: Monitor your pets closely before, during, and after fireworks displays for any signs of distress or health issues.