Monday, 26 September 2011

Fireworks and Pets

It's getting to that time of year again. Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night, 5th of November .... whatever you want to call it, it's a pain in the butt to all pet owners. Personally, my dog is fine with fireworks but, as a Vet Nurse, I see plenty of people coming in with their dogs and cats just prior to Bonfire Night to get medication for their pets.

Unfortunately, sedatives are only a short term fix. Ideally, if your dog or cat is scared of the noise, you need to work with them and get them desensitised to the loud bangs. For this, the Sounds Scary CD is ideal, you play the CD in the house over a long period of time and gradually your pet will become oblivious to the noises.

The CD used in conjunction with Adaptil (for dogs) or Feliway (for cats), is much better than loading them up with sedatives. Adaptil and Feliway should be used at least 2 weeks prior to the event.

Sedatives may make your pet sleep and look serene but they're still scared of the noises that are happening outside, so work with your pet in advance rather than leave it to the last minute and have to get sedatives from your Vet. Sounds Scary is available from the link above and Adaptil and Feliway are available from your Vet or any large pet shop.

Advice for dogs on the night of the fireworks:

  • Make sure your dog is walked in daylight hours before the fireworks start
  • Feed your dog as stodgy meal, like pasta etc. This should help your dog feel tired
  • Shut all your curtains and put a CD or TV on.  Preferably bass heavy music as it should hide the noise of the fireworks
  • Don't react to the noise of the fireworks or fuss over the dog if they do
  • Don't take the dog out again until after you're sure the fireworks are finished
  • Start working with the Sounds Scary CD so that the following year isn't as bad
Advice for cats on the night of fireworks:
  • Make sure your cat is kept indoors during the day and at night
  • Make sure your cat has a safe hiding place to go to if they feel scared
  • Again, like with dogs, work with the cat and the Sounds Scary CD
Advice for small animals on the night of fireworks:
  • Outdoor animals should have plenty of food and hay on the day and night of
  • If possible, bring the animals inside but make sure they're not too warm.  If it's not possible to bring them inside, cover the hutch(es)with something heavy to block out any light flashes and dull the noise

I hope the above advice is helpful to some pet owners, I would also like to ask if anyone with pets could sign this petition to get pet safety advice put on fireworks.


  1. Great post and wonderful advice Julie. My kitties are house cats all year round and to be honest I have Fellaway for when they need it. However Fireworks night is a good time to prepare for as is New Year. My own like to sit and look out of the window at them, provided I'm sat next to them. If not, they'll come and cuddle up with me on the sofa.

  2. I don't have a pet, but everything above seems really sensible, and sound advice...

  3. Feliway is great but also catnip spray for their toys will help calm them down :)

    I would really NOT recommend the Sounds Scary CD though! Pets have a natural reaction to loud noises - they run like hell and hide because, most times, loud noise means danger and they run instinctively. You, by playing that CD and desensitising them, are basically removing their main defence mechanism and that is a TERRIBLE idea! I'm actually kind of shocked that you'd recommend it, being in profession you are.

    I'd really suggest not recommending it any longer and really to re-advice any pet owners to not use it. Having pets being afraid of firework noises for a short time each year is a small price to pay for them being safe every other day when they're out and about! Keeping them calm, rather than forcibly changing their instinctual behaviour, is always best (ie: feliway, adaptil, cat nip spray).

  4. Sounds Scary CD only desensitises them to the particular noise you WANT to do that with. It doesn't desensitise them to EVERY noise, therefore I would always recommend it to people who have pets scared of fireworks.

  5. Do they have something for thunderstorms? Because that's a weekly occurrance here. My brother's dog was terrified of those and used to try to crawl onto my lap. Not so comfortable, for a huge German Shepard.

  6. J D ~ Yes, there's also a thunder based CD. From what I can see on the website, it's actually the same CD as the fireworks.