Fireworks and Animals Not A Good Combination!

Ways to help your pet through bonfire night and beyond from local vet Paloma Diaz

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Grove Park Veterinary Clinic is located opposite Chiswick Mainline Station at 3 Station Parade, Burlington Lane.

Tel: 020 8994 3889


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The time of year for big bangs and noisy lights is getting near. Fireworks can be fun for the family but for the majority of pets they are a real nightmare. Animals are far more sensitive to sound than we are, making the bangs and cracks that we hear so much louder for them. Fireworks tend to cause a lot of anxiety in our pets, making them nervous and unsettled in mild cases to becoming severely distressed in the worst.

If you already know that your pet suffers from noise related stress, my recommendation is that you start to prepare at least two weeks before the expected start of the noisy period. Recognising the signs of anxiety and fear in your pet may help to prevent him/her from injury. Remember that there are fireworks parties several nights before and after Bonfire night, and that several religious festivals also occur in this period!

There are some simple tips that can help:

  • Exercising and feeding your pet earlier than usual. Most pets won’t eat if they are anxious and walking your dog earlier will help to avoid the bangs.
  • Cats are safer indoors, lock cat flaps and windows. It is advisable to have your pet micro chipped in case it escapes and becomes lost as a result of the fright!
  • Keep your pet indoors during the firework. You can turn on the TV or the radio to drown out the outside noise.
  • Ignore any fearful behaviour and do not try to comfort your pet. A dog may pick up on your anxiety and this can make the problem worse. Cats normally prefer to be left to cope alone
  • Seeing you acting normally will help your pets feel more settled.

There are also several very useful products listed here that you should use. Start these well in advance of the expected festivities ie by at least 2 weeks, or at worst, as soon as possible!

Bach Flower Remedies. These are safe to use in all types of animals and can be simply added to drinking water 3 to 4 times a day. Typically Rescue Remedy

Skullcap and Valerian. Traditional herbal remedies.

Sound Therapy. This is one of my favourite remedies because it works! You have to start well in advance. The method is called desensitisation and it consists of a CD with recorded noises that are played in the background continuously. The noise levels will fluctuate automatically and in time the pets will no longer react adversely. (Sounds Scary CD)

Pheromones. These are plug-in like air fresheners that continually releases pheromones which calms dogs ( DAP diffuser or DAP collars) and cats( Feliway diffuser or Feliway spray)
The scent is not detectable by humans. These are available at the Veterinary Clinic

Sedatives and anti-anxiety medications. These are only for use in severe phobias and anxieties, where there is a risk that the animal may get seriously hurt. A full veterinary consultation is required and the treatment prescribed will vary for each animal. Medications may need to be used in conjunction with the assistance of a behaviour therapist.

Always seek the advice of your vet to use the method that is the most appropriate for the individual needs of your pet.

Useful websites: and

Paloma Diaz Carretero Grove Park Veterinary Clinic

October 13, 2009