Bonfire and firework season is a fun time of year for many, however, it can be a very distressing time for our pets. This includes all animals such as dogs, cats, small furries and birds.

By ensuring they are as calm and comfortable as possible this can help to reduce their stress.

The best method to help your pet deal with fireworks is to reduce their stress before the fireworks begin. This can be achieved by following these useful steps:

Small Pets

  • If possible take hutches, cages and enclosures indoors to a quiet room or into a shed
  • Provide plenty of bedding to allow burrowing so they feel safe
  • Cover any aviaries or hutches with thick blankets, hutch covers or material that can reduce the noise and sight of fireworks, allowing enough ventilation

Dogs and Cats

  • Keep your pet indoors
  • Play some calming music (such as classical) or turn on the TV to block out the noise
  • Close all doors, windows and block cat flaps to keep noise to a minimum and prevent escape as scared pets may run away in fear
  • Create a hideaway made of blankets, duvets, owners clothing and their favourite teddies and allow them to hide where they feel safe such as under the bed
  • Spend plenty of time cuddling and stroking your pet if it comforts them and helps them to relax

Other methods can be applied using products which you can purchase from our veterinary practices, such as:

  • Nutracalm – this is a fast acting natural calming supplement for dogs and cats in tablet form. This can be given to dogs 1-2 hours before the onset of stressful situations. Nutracalm helps to reduce stress, calm behaviour and is easy to administer.
  • Zylkene – this is another natural product in tablet form which can help promote relaxation in dogs and cats during situations like firework nights. This is easily palatable and can be given whole or opened and sprinkled on food. However must be given up to 5 days before the expected stressful stimulant.
  • Pet Remedy Spray – this is a natural de-stressing and calming spray for rooms and products which your pet will come into contact such as bedding. This works in a variety of animals including cats, dogs, rabbits, rodents, horses and birds. Pet Remedy works alongside the brain’s natural ‘messengers’ called neurotransmitters, which work by telling the nerve receiving the message to calm. Pet remedy also comes in a plug in diffuser form.
  • Thunder Shirts – This is a safe easy and drug free approach to calm dogs during stressful occasions. This is a shirt which applies gentle constant pressure to provide comfort. It is well accepted by dogs and has an over 80% success rate.
  • Feliway – This is a spray product or plug in diffuser which emits a scentless odour that safely reduces cats stress and keeps them feeling happy, calm and playful. This can be plugged into rooms so that the cat constantly has cover in case fireworks are set off at any time.
  • Adaptil – Adaptil is found in the form of a room spray, plug in diffuser and collar so that the dog appeasing pheromone can constantly be effective to calm and reduce stress. Adaptil contains a synthetic dog pheromone which communicates to your dog in its language (the pheromones encountered at birth which make puppies feel safe).

It is important to recognise signs of fear and distress in our pets, which can be seen as:


  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Trembling
  • Hiding or remaining close to you
  • Excessive salivation/drooling
  • Destructiveness
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Self-inflicted trauma
  • Faecal incontinence
  • High heart rate

  • Cowering and hiding behind or on top of furniture
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Refusing to eat

  • Stamping hind feet
  • Staying motionless
  • Trying to escape

If your pets’ fear is extreme, please contact one of our practices for further veterinary advice.