Updated: June 19, 2023
While fireworks, sparklers, and the holiday hoop-la may be a blast for us humans, our furry friends can be less than thrilled at the sounds and noises associated with our festivities.
How can you keep your pet calm during fireworks? Follow these simple steps to provide the extra nurturing that your pet may need tonight:
- Draw the curtains
- Turn on the TV or radio
- Provide plenty of hiding spots
- Offer snacks to help with the stress
- Talk to your pet to offer comfort
- Talk to your neighbors
- Stay home
- Stick to sparklers
Draw the Curtains
The colorful flashes of fireworks can startle and over-stimulate your pets. Reducing your pet’s exposure to the bright lights associated with fireworks is one of the simplest and most basic steps you should take if your little loved one is among the many pets who experience stress from fireworks. Blackout curtains are great for limiting the flash of fireworks. Or, you might choose to relocate your pet to the basement where light (and sound) are lessened.
Turn On the TV or Radio
Loud noises are an instinctual source of stress for all prey species. If you’ve ever accidentally slammed a door or kitchen drawer in the presence of your pet, you know all too well that loud, unexpected sound spells trouble for our small animal friends. The more familiar (and less jarring) sound of a television or radio can help dampen the sound of fireworks.
Provide Plenty of Hiding Spots
Safe, comfortable hiding spaces are your pet’s best friend during times of stress. If some fireworks exposure is inevitable this 4th of July season, make sure to have at least one hiding spot available for your pet. Better yet, add a secondary hideaway to provide your furry friend with options. The more hiding spots your best friend has, the better!
Offer Snacks to Help with the Stress
Snacks make every stressful situation better. And, while stress eating might not be a regular recommendation of our doctors or our pet’s veterinarians, a favorite healthy snack can provide comfort during the stressful situation that a fireworks display can create for your pets. Fresh greens and veggies or small amounts of fruit are likely to hit the spot. In addition to snacks, be sure to offer plenty of fresh hay to help your pet cope.
Talk to Your Pet to Offer Comfort
Your pet is likely to find your voice soothing. Talking to them will likely provide more comfort than you realize and offers a pleasant distraction from the stress and danger they perceive around them. If they realize you’re not fearful, this may lessen the amount of stress they experience.
Talk to Your Neighbors
If you have understanding neighbors, they might be willing to reduce the amount of larger fireworks they use. Talk to them in advance to explain your situation and concerns. Chances are, most neighbors will be understanding and willing to tone down their celebration with your pet’s health and well-being in mind.
Not that excited about your plans? Consider staying put this holiday season instead. Your pet takes comfort in your company and will undoubtedly benefit from your presence during a stressful time. If you choose to stay home, there are countless ways to comfort and distract your pet from the sights and sounds of fireworks. For example, if your pet is not too stressed, you can try playing games with them.
Stick to Sparklers
If you’re hosting this year, choose fireworks that don’t make as much noise. Your pet (and other animals in the neighborhood) will thank you! Sparklers, smoke balls, and other less noisy options are unlikely to generate as much stress for your pets as fireworks that crackle, pop, or go kaboom.
For as thrilling as fireworks can be for your family and neighbors, they often have the opposite effect on small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, hamsters, and others. By planning ahead and taking basic steps to create a comforting environment for your pets, you are likely to limit the stress your little loved ones experience this fireworks season.