December 20, 2023 | General

Prepping Your Pet for New Year's Fireworks

Whilst we may be looking forward to the New Year festivities, our furry friends might be dreading it! It's estimated that 49% of pets have a firework phobia with up to a third of these having a phobia so intense it may impact their health and quality of life.

New Years fireworks taking off into the night sky

Long-term behavioural help

A trained behaviourist can work through ways to desensitise your pet and help them stay calm. This can help in the long-term to keep your pets calm during events with fireworks such as New Year and Bonfire Night. The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors offer behavioural therapy for a variety of species including dogs, cats, horses, small mammals, reptiles, birds and other animals.

Sound desensitisation

This will take time but guided self-help packs are available to help your pet get used to loud noises. An example is Sounds Scary, which can help your dog deal with distressing noises such as fireworks. Sounds Scary is not only backed by years of clinical experience, but it is also scientifically proven to be safe, effective and easy to use.

Before the day

Microchip details

Make sure that your dog or cat's microchip details are up to date and that your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag. Currently, many microchips may have incorrect owner details, meaning that if a pet goes missing many pets may not be able to be returned to their owners.


If you know your pet has a severe firework phobia then there are medications that your vet can prescribe or recommend to help keep them calm. Some medications might require one or two weeks of treatment prior to the event so speak to your vet well in advance as they might be able to prescribe or recommend a suitable medication, which may or may not require a written prescription. You can purchase specific pet medications online from UK Pets. It is simple to purchase pet prescription medications online from UK Pets.

Build a den

A cupboard, crate or under the bed, somewhere your pet can hide and feel safe, can serve as a suitable den for your pets. You can use familiar blankets and toys to make it as comfortable as possible and muffle the noises and flashes from fireworks.  

Pheromone diffusers

Pheromone diffusers mimic comforting hormonal signals and can be used on their own for mild cases, or as an additional therapy for very worried pets. One great option is the Feliway Classic Diffuser. This is a hormonal diffuser that mimics natural positive pheromones produced by cats. For dogs, you can consider the Adaptil Calm Diffuser which helps dogs to regulate their hormones during difficult situations.

Diet supplements

Some dietary supplements will contain a type of protein shown to help dogs and cats relax. This can be started 1-2 days before a stressful event, however, for severe cases, the treatment is recommended 1-2 months in advance. An example of a dietary supplement which may be of use is Zylkene chews, which can help cats and dogs during stressful situations.

On the night


  • Fireworks can catch us all unawares. So if you are out for a walk and you hear a band, you should make sure your dog is secure. If you know that your dog is scared of fireworks then you should always walk them on a lead - even if they’re used to being walked off lead.

  • You should also make sure to secure external doors, windows and cat flaps, leaving internal doors open so they don't feel trapped. This ensures that they do not run off and go missing if they become stressed. 

  • Let your pet hide in their safe place.

  • Close the curtains and put on some music before the fireworks begin. 

  • Play relaxing music such as the massive New Year’s hit Classic FM’s Pet Classics.


  • Tell your pet off if they become destructive due to stress.

  • Show signs of fear yourself, and try to react positively to the fireworks.

  • Praise them when they show signs of fear, it's fine to sit with them but try not to give lots of praise as they may associate this with a positive response to their signs of fear.

  • Restrain them or tempt them out when they are hiding.

Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and Hamsters 

Outdoor rabbits and guinea pigs should be brought indoors during fireworks, if this is not possible, turn the hutch to face a wall and cover with blankets to muffle the sound. You should also provide extra bedding to allow them to hide and feel safe    


How To Keep Your Pets Safe During Fireworks | RSPCA

Advice on Pets & Fireworks - RSPCA - YouTube

Fireworks night and dogs | Dog health | The Kennel Club