Jumpy Pets? 23 Tips To Help Cope With Fireworks & Loud Scary Sounds.

Boom Bang FIZZZZZ Ka POW! Bark! Bark! Bark! HoWLLLL! HiSSS! Rowl! (Bonus tip)

By Melissa Shrader Editor/Publisher Fort Collins Macaroni Kid July 2, 2023

Is your dog a bit skittish or totally terrified of fireworks and/or Storms? Maybe your kitty hides or hisses with loud noises and flashing lights? 

Over 80% of pet owners have a fur baby who is unhappy with noises, at least loud and sudden noises as well as flashing lights.

We have a few suggestions that may help calm your fuzzy friends.  

  1. Know when and where the fireworks are happening. 
  2. Make sure that your fur babies tags and chips are up to date.
  3. Know that mostly what upsets your pet is the sound, flashing lights, and smell that bother them. 
  4. Prepare your little friend by exposing them carefully to the sounds (not necessarily as loud as real life) before the event. 
  5. Prepare your house. Keep lights on where your fur baby hangs out. This will help calm them.
  6. Dampen the noise by closing the curtains in the room. If you crate your dog, you can cover the cage with a thick blanket to muffle the sound but make sure there is still air circulation. This will also help with the flashing lights. 
  7. Plan on having familiar sounds around to drown out the noise of the fireworks. Maybe put on shows on the TV you always watch. Make sure you have the TV at the regular sound level as making it much louder will bother your pet too. Classical music calms pets too just like babies. 
  8. Pick and prepare the room you will have your pet if you don’t crate them. Try to pick a room that muffles the sound. If you have several pets possibly put them in separate rooms unless they get along well. They can comfort each other if they are friends but if not, they may stress each other being confined together. 
  9. Make the room comfy by putting their bedding in a quiet corner, behind a chair someplace they feel safe. Place something to distract them that they love. A favorite snack a toy, chew toy scratch pad, ball etc. 
  10. Make sure the room had good ventilation but don’t open a window to let the light and sound in. Draw the curtains and shut the windows. Make sure the ventilation system in the house is not covered with the pet bed or toys etc. Make sure the windows are closed so your pet won’t try to escape and hide outside. 
  11. Make sure there is a litter box for cats and a pee pad for dogs just in case. Try to get dogs walked prior to the confinement. 
  12. You can also introduce aroma therapy. Something like lavender or Rescue Remedy or other oil that will relax and calm. Remember to keep it out of the reach of your pets just to be on the safe side. 
  13. Remember safety. No candles as the pups and kitties can knock these over. And make sure poisonous or sharp items are tucked away. 
  14. Remember pets can read our energy levels too. If we are stressed or worried they will pick up on it and be stressed and worried too. This could raise their stress level more than it would naturally be. 
  15. If you are putting them in a room or crate, put them in early so they don’t feel the stress as you put them up and then leave. 
  16. If you have all the resources they need such as water, food, etc. so they will be comfortable but also make sure there is a pad under the food or make sure it’s placed where it can spill and not make a stain. 
  17. If you are staying home stay in the room with your pets. If not make sure they think this is similar to a routine day. Maybe do this a few days and a few times before the expected noise of the Fireworks or other noise begins. 
  18. If your pet is hiding (like a cat under or behind a chair/cabinet) make sure you don’t stress them more with unnecessary searching and “pulling” them out from under chairs etc. This will make the experience more stressful. 
  19. When the fireworks are done, reassure them everything is over, and all is well. Tell them they did a good job etc. Give them treats if they are ok. If they are stressed continue to let them stay in the room till they are comfortable and calm. If they usually go outside and are skittish keep them in. If they need to go out, make sure they are on a leash even in your own back yard just to be safe. I had a dog jump the fence and run. You just don’t know if they are scared how they will react. 
  20. Signs of stress in cats include hiding, hissing, running away, soiling the house, refusing to eat, ears lying back, and tail tucked between their legs or example. 
  21. Signs of stress in dogs include cowering, excess barking, running away, soiling the house, being clingy, pacing, shaking, refusing to eat, panting for example 
  22. If stressed, keep your fuzzy friend in the house over night as the fireworks may be going off in your neighborhood too. No walks or rides in cars etc.
  23. (BONUS) Don’t forget to check your yard and other areas your pet roams for firework trash and rubbish. There may be sparklers, firecrackers, party items and broken objects that your cat, dog etc. may thing are toys or food. Pick up any harmful items.

FYI: in extreme cases you may want to medicate your pet. I don’t like to recommend this however, I have a friend (My uncle actually) who had a dog so afraid of storms, fireworks, hail etc. that the dog would throw up, run in circles, pee, bark and totally freak out. They tried everything, and nothing worked. Finally, they went to the vet and pup was prescribed a medication to help him relax.