Fireworks and Pets: Our Guide

This time of year can be challenging for both pets and their owners, but there are things you can do to keep 5th November (and the days surrounding) as calm as possible for your pet.

Preparation For Dogs and Cats

Sound Therapy

Part of the reason dogs and cats are frightened by fireworks is due to the noise being so unfamiliar. To combat this, you can slowly introduce firework noise at home in the months leading up to bonfire night so that your pet is more accustomed to the different sounds on the day. This process is called desensitization, and whilst it may not lead to total fearlessness towards fireworks, it will certainly help to reduce stress and anxiety during a display.

Start by playing a YouTube video of a firework display at a low volume. It needs to be loud enough for your pet to notice and react to the noise, but not so loud that they present a fear response (shaking, cowering, hiding). Once your pet no longer shows a response to the noise at a low volume, slightly increase it the next day. Continue to do so until your pet is unaffected by firework noise at a realistic volume.

Create a Den

Frightened animals will often seek out a covered space to hide. Your dog or cat may already have a favourite place where they go to feel comfortable, but if they don't, you can easily create one for them. If your dog likes to relax in a crate, line this with extra blankets and add some new toys to make it as inviting as possible. It is also a good idea to place blankets over the top (leaving an opening for ventilation) to help block out noise and light. Placing an old jumper inside can also calm your dog by providing a familiar scent.

For cats, a cardboard box placed on its side makes an excellent den. Again, fill with blankets, toys and a few treats to entice your cat inside. Place blankets over the top to protect them from the noise.

Remember: Do not force your pet into the den, but praise them when they do go in by themselves. Do not let children pester pets whilst they are in their den. 


Some animals may urinate out of fear during a firework display. Make sure you're prepared by scattering newspaper around the house and provide extra litter trays for cats. If your pet does have an accident, calmly clean it up and do not punish them.

Calming pheromones

There are various sprays and dispensers that promote calm and well-being in dogs and cats, like 'Pet Remedy' which can be purchased from our Oak Tree shop.

'Feliway' for cats mimics the feel-good pheromone cats emit when they feel safe. Similarly, 'Adaptil' for dogs imitates the pheromone produced by mothers to calm their puppies. Both products have proven very successful in providing relief during periods of stress.

Thunder shirts

These also help your dog feel secure within the home environment, working on pressure points within the body, creating a sensation similar to swaddling a baby. Thunder shirts can be purchased from our Oak Tree Shop. 

Preparation For Horses

  • Speak to your neighbours and tell them if your horse is anxious about fireworks.
  • If you have a horse who is extremely anxious or has injured itself in previous years, speak to your vet as they may have alternative options for you.

On the Night...


  • Bring your horse into a stable before it gets dark and remove any possible hazards from the stable. If you are unable to bring your horse in to a stable, remove hazards from their field.
  • Playing music can help drown out the noise of the fireworks reducing their awareness - it’s the unexpected sounds that can spook them - classical music is a popular choice.
  • If you can, stay with your horse and reassure them. Horses are very good at sensing and reacting to human behaviour, so the more calm you are the less you will reinforce the anxious behaviour.
  • If you are unable to stay with your horse, make sure you leave clear contact details for you and your vet. Ideally ensure your horse can see other horses as they prefer the company.
  • If your horse panics, remember your own safety comes first, don’t put yourself in harm's way.
  • Check the field for any firework or other hazardous debris and be sure to remove it.


  • Make a cave for your dog, consisting of bedding, this can be done anywhere! On the sofa, under the table, etc.
  • Have a movie night! Close the curtains, turn the lights out, turn the film up. Cosy up with your dog.
  • Create a playlist, classical music and reggae are both meant to be calming for dogs however, use any music you like! Play it loud enough to drown out the fireworks and start well before the fireworks begin.
  • Get their brain working! Use puzzle toys to keep your dogs busy and engaged, if you don’t have any, make some! Put some treats in the middle of a towel and twist the towel to hold the treats. Or put treats in a cupcake baking tin and then cover each treat with a tennis ball. Looking for more enrichment ideas? Click here!
  • Engage your dog with training before it is dark! Teach them a new trick, the mental stimulation will help your dog relax after and become more tired.
  • Consider not walking your dog after dark. Dogs don’t need a walk everyday especially if they are being stimulated mentally. Follow the tips above and your dog can feel enriched, worked out and settled without the need to go out amongst the fireworks.


  • If you have an outdoor cat, call them indoors before it starts to get dark.
  • Make sure doors and windows are closed to avoid your cat escaping.
  • Create a playlist, classical music and reggae are both meant to be calming for cats however, use any music you like! Play it loud enough to drown out the fireworks and start well before the fireworks begin.
  • Get their brain working and distract them with play. Use puzzle toys and games to keep your cat busy and engaged, if you don’t have any - make some!

For further information, please contact: or 01228 560082 ext. 228

(Please bear in mind our opening hours are 10.00am to 4.00pm daily)

Fireworks and Pets: Our Guide

Fireworks and Pets: Our Guide

Fireworks and Pets: Our Guide

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