Help! My pet is afraid of fireworks

New Years Eve marks a wonderful time for us all. It is an explosion of new opportunity and celebration. However, for your pets it can be a scary time full of stress and anxiety. Fireworks create bright lights and loud noises that dogs, cats, and other animals don’t like. And, beyond the stress of the fireworks, if you have any sort of party in your pets’ space, it can also be dangerous. Keeping them in mind while planning for this holiday will make it easier and more comfortable during this potentially hard day for them.

7 Ways to Prepare

  • Exercise: Before the fireworks begin, exercise your pets. This can help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Keep to diet: Pets should continue to eat a normal diet , even with all the tempting holiday treats.
  • Know your pet: Pets that are scared or disoriented by loud noises should not be taken outside to large fireworks displays. Some pets benefit from medication to help them remain calm during the festivities. Schedule an appointment to discuss this option with us in advance to see if this is a fit for your pet.
  • Make a safe and secure shelter: Observe your pets ahead of time to know where they tend to go (or try to) when frightened. If possible, give them access to their preferred place while fireworks are going off.
  • Secure the yard: Loud, stressful events can cause pets to run away or escape the yard.
  • ID tags/ microchips: To prepare for the worst-case scenario, make sure pets have proper identification tags. If they are microchipped, make sure they are registered. Not sure if they have a tag or if it is registered? Ask us.
  • Current photos: This will make it easier for others to help find your loved one if they do run away.

What should I do after?

After the celebrations are over, there are several things you can do to further protect and help your pets. Most importantly, you want to find and remove anything that could be harmful for them. If you hosted any guests, check to make sure the area is clear of all trash, debris, or food scraps. Check living and play areas for unsafe items before letting pets play or relax outside (or in an inside space that had guests in it). Even if you did not set off any fireworks at your property, firework remnants can still make their way in, so do a thorough search before letting pets out in the yard.

Spending New Year’s Eve away from home?

You probably spent more time with your pet during the last year or so than you otherwise would have. The extra snuggles and play time have been enjoyable, but they could cause more anxiety for them if you are home together less during the holiday (especially with all the loud noises and lights). Leaving them home during trips can cause them to be extra sensitive, and the added noise and excitement of the New Year’s Eve could be completely overwhelming – even for a pet that has been fine with these experiences in the past.

  • If you are taking your pet with you to an offsite location, be sure they have a place to hide or feel safe during the festivities and bring along any of their main comfort items (including medications if they take them).
  • If you’re not taking your furry family member along, a dog sitter or boarding kennel are options if you are leaving for the holiday. Learn more about our boarding facility and Camp Canine.

Does your pet struggle during fireworks displays? Schedule an appointment now to go over a specialized plan for your pet.

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Animal Family Veterinary Care offers an extensive range of services all in one place, so we can meet your pet’s needs in almost every situation. Our veterinarians in Davenport treat dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and a variety of other exotic species, because every pet is unique and important.