Fireworks season: how to prepare your pets

In the UK, fireworks are a huge part of our seasonal celebrations – including Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

While they can be fun for us, our pets tend to feel differently and are traumatised by them each year.

If you already know that your furry friend isn’t a fan of fireworks, or you have a new pet that’s displaying signs of stress or anxiety where loud noises are concerned, there are things you can do to make things easier for them.

In this post, we share some useful tips and tricks that’ll help your pets keep their cool during this year’s fireworks season.


How to tell if your pet is stressed or anxious

The first step to keeping your pet safe during fireworks is being able to recognise when they’re feeling stressed or anxious.

All animals display different signs of stress and anxiety, so it’s important to do your research. A chat with your vet or a quick Google search should reveal all you need to know.

Some common signs of stress and anxiety in dogs include:

  • Whining or barking
  • Yawning, drooling, licking and panting
  • Changes in eyes and ears (dilated pupils, rapid blinking, ears pinned back, etc.)
  • Changes in bodily functions

In cats:

  • Excessive meowing
  • Hissing or growling
  • Eating or drinking less or overeating
  • Scratching furniture
  • Becoming more withdrawn or reluctant than usual

In rabbits:

  • Freezing, hunched up with flat ears against the body
  • Excessively jumpy and watchful (bulging eyes)
  • Being aggressive towards people or other rabbits

If you notice any of these tell-tale signs, there are lots of things you can try to help ease their feelings of stress and anxiety.


Turn the TV or radio volume up

Not only does turning the volume up on your TV or radio help drown out loud bangs, but it also provides a familiar noise to help distract your pet.

Studies have shown that playing music or some sort of background noise, such as your favourite TV show, can help relieve their stress and make them less anxious.


Close windows, blinds and curtains

Closing your windows, blinds and curtains further soundproofs your home, helping to muffle the crackling and whistling from outside and shut out the bright flashes and sparks.

Another common sign of anxiety is hiding or escape behaviour and doing this will prevent your pet from escaping if they decide they want to flee.


Walk dogs early

If you normally take your dog for walkies in the evening after dark, it might be a good idea to switch up your routine slightly – taking them out earlier in the day before the fireworks start.

You should gradually alter your regular walking schedule about a week before a fireworks occasion to get your canine companion used to the change, and you should keep them on a lead at all times.


Keep outdoor animals inside

If you have an outdoor cat, it’s worth trying to keep them indoors if they come home earlier in the day, otherwise, there’s a chance they’ll still be outside when the fireworks start.

If you can, you should consider bringing rabbit hutches indoors for the night, to provide a barrier from the noise outside – whether that’s in the house with you or in the garage.

This isn’t always possible though, so if you’re unable to bring them inside, lay a couple of thick blankets over their hutch to help muffle the bangs – making sure to leave a suitable gap for ventilation.

It’s also a good idea to put extra bedding into their hutch so they have lots of room to burrow and hide.


Need further advice?

Keeping your pets calm during fireworks season can be a bit of a handful, but knowing what to do and how to recognise when they’re upset will make this year’s festivities much less hectic.

That’s why our experts here at Pet Shop Online are here to help.

The health and happiness of your four-legged friend is our main concern, so whenever you need any advice, you’re more than welcome to get in touch with us.

Give us a call on 0161 728 4656 to speak to us directly or send us a message via email to if you prefer, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

We’re always happy to assist you!