Keeping your pet calm during fireworks season

Picture of Christian Sadler

Christian Sadler

Veterinary Surgeon and co-founder of Tatton Veterinary Practice

Bonfire night can bring a huge amount of worry and stress into the household for both pets and owners. 

With many firework displays during Autumn and Winter it’s important to be prepared and do as much as we can to keep pets calm during the fireworks and help reduce any stress.

For pets that are affected by loud noises, they may show their anxiety in a number of ways, such as shaking, hiding, vocalisation, ears pinned back, reduced appetite and in some cases aggression.

Here are some top tips to keep pets calm during the fireworks:


  • Consider keeping cats inside from the early evening until the next morning

Encourage them to go outside during the daytime, returning in the afternoon. Place plenty of litter trays around the house and close to the usual exit points. Cat’s can become very skittish when outside, especially with unwarned loud bangs. Keeping them inside, where possible, will reduce the risk of accidents or them running away. 

  • Dogs will respond well to some slight changes in the household 

A crated and caged area can provide a ‘safe space’ with blankets and familiar scents. This creates somewhere for the pet to take themselves if they are feeling worried.

  • Play some music or background noise

Many studies have shown that dogs and cats like us also enjoy music. Classical music played quietly has been shown to relax both cats and dogs. But also having the TV on in the background can drown out some of the more distal firework sounds. 

  • Change the timings of your dog walk

Consider changing from an evening walk to a longer morning walk, maybe even consider adding an extra walk early afternoon to burn off some energy. Walking dogs in prime firework time risks them being startled and potentially running off. 

  • Feed a high carb diet

Feeding a high carbohydrate diet on the evening of Bonfire night, Christmas and New year, can relax your pet and encourage their body to relax and sleep.


Even with changes like these, animals can still be very anxious and worried during this time of the year. If changes such as the above have not improved their experience, then it is worth contacting us to discuss what else we can do. There are non-prescription medications that you can try initially alongside changes at home such as: Nutracalm, Calmex and Adaptil/Feliway

Nutracalm and Calmex are similar products and you may find that one suits your pet more so than the other. These are herbal based products that are made up of ingredients that are known to reduce fear and anxiety in animals. 

Adaptil/Feliway is a pheromone based product. These products give off the same pheromone that the mother will secrete during pregnancy and when they are born, one that is familiar and is known to be calming and soothing to animals. We however as humans cannot smell or taste this, meaning that it won’t give off an unpleasant odour. 


If your pets’ anxiety/fear has become unmanageable during these times you may want to consider prescription medications. These can be dispensed by our vets following a routine health check/consultation. Whilst some are licensed for the use in animals, many are not, this is due to the unpredictable nature of phobias in animals and means that often a trial of the medication is suggested prior to its use during a stressful period

Unfortunately despite the attempts we make, animals can still struggle with the firework season. The best recommendation is to discuss these issues as soon as they arise with a behaviourist or veterinarian as early intervention has a much better long term success rate.

If your pet struggles with firework season and you are keen to get a plan in place, please contact us at the practice, either via email at [email protected] or give us a call on 01565744504 where one of our nurses or vets will be more than happy to help and assist in any way possible.

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