Firework Anxiety in Pets: Tips for a Stress-Free Celebration

We have only a few sleeps until the new year, and by virtue of tradition, fireworks will be taking center stage. The feast to the eyes and the belief of the noise driving away evil spirits make up a wonderful event for us humans, but not so for our furry friends who have no idea what is going on, it just so happens that everyone is all dressed up and there’s so much food on the table. When the fireworks start, pets experience anxiety, fear, and stress because of the deafening noise, and unfamiliar and unpleasant smell of the pyrotechnics. These can trigger various fear responses in animals.

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Here is what to do to ensure your pets’ well-being during fireworks.

Keep Your Pets Away From Fireworks

The first most important thing to do for your pet is to make sure they are not directly exposed to the sounds right before they start going off. This means that you have to keep them inside to at least have the walls of your house as a barrier from what’s going on outside, furthermore making them feel safe since they are with the rest of the family. For big animals that have a tendency to be violent to other pets or people inside the house, you may help them through soundproofing their outdoor cages to block noise. If this option isn’t attainable, you may stay with them outside during the fireworks to make them comfortable and let them feel that you are there for them.

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Create a Safe Haven

All animals seek comfort in den-like spaces as territorial beings. For cats, you may give them a secure hiding place where they can stay during the festivities, perhaps a box would do. Preparing a calming environment in a quiet area away from the doors and windows will give your pet shelter from everything going outside, and will surely make them feel secure. You may provide familiar toys and treats to calm them down and allow them to feel comfortable even in hiding. Close your windows and your doors, and use blackout curtains to block everything from outside as much as possible.

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Play White Noise

Playing white noise can mask the sounds of fireworks outside. You can leave the TV on, or play calming music. There are multiple sounds available online that are proven to have soothing effects for different animals, depending which ones you have. An example of which is “Through a Dog’s Ear” which is known for having calming effects on dogs. Other Classic FM’s pet classics help pets relax during our festivities as well.

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Comfort Your Pet

As the owner of your pet, you are the one they trust the most and you have the ability to make them feel as safe as possible. If you’re not going out for the holidays, make sure you stay close to your pets and comfort them. You can talk to them in a soothing tone as this can help alleviate their anxiety. You may also give them pets and strokes while the fireworks are going on.

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Talk to Your Vet

Your pet may have firework phobia if their anxiety during fireworks is severe. In this case, you should consult your veterinarian in advance. There are options such as calming treats, anxiety vets, and possible medications to lessen distress. This is treatable, so there is nothing to worry about as long as you take precaution to guarantee your pet’s well-being.

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Consider Hiring a Trainer

In the case where the medications and the advice of your veterinarian doesn’t work, you may consider getting the help of a behavior consultant or a professional trainer if this is to your avail. This can develop healthier mental responses within your pets and further help them. If you cannot do so, you may gradually expose your pets to the sounds of fireworks yourself through playing videos of them on your own device. This is to desensitize your pet to fireworks and lessen their anxiety. The method called counter-conditioning can be done through giving your pet treats after or during playing the sounds.  

Photo from The Spruce Pets

It is important to ensure our pets’ well-being as much as it is for us to have a good time during the holidays. As pet moms and dads, it is our responsibility to keep them comfortable and make sure that they feel safe and secure to make the celebration enjoyable for everyone in the family, especially for our furry family members.

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