A lot of pet owners dread the impending fireworks season. As the nights draw in, there is that unmistakeable ‘bang’ out of nowhere that can turn even the most stoic dogs into a quivering wreck. Noise ‘phobias’ are, unfortunately, very common in our pets. These can range from mild behaviour changes to extreme reactions and unwanted behaviours causing distress for you, and your pet. Signs that you can look out for in your dogs can be seen in this article from Dogs Trust.

Signs of Stress In Dogs | Anxious Dogs | Dogs Trust

Cats can also become stressed with fireworks season. Even if they are tolerant of the noise, changes in their environment and routine can cause further stress. Many cats with outdoor access will be kept indoors for longer or earlier on an evening. That can cause additional stress which can manifest itself in many ways.

Preparing for fireworks

It is essential that de-sensitisation is started prior to firework season beginning. You can help your dog to become more accustomed to loud noises by gradually introducing them loud sounds. Please note this may not be beneficial if your pet is severely noise phobic. In this situation, it would be advisable to seek advice from an experienced animal behaviourist or vet.

Please see the below links from Dogs Trust and Kennel Club for their sound therapy playlist and advice.

Sound Therapy & Firework Training for Dogs | Dogs Trust

Fireworks | Dog health | The Kennel Club

Pets and fireworks – PDSA

Dogs and Fireworks | 10 Tips to Calm your Dog | Battersea

What else can be done?

  • Be organised and find out when local firework displays are taking place (social media groups may be able to provide information if people are planning fireworks displays in their garden)
  • Provide a safe space/den (this could be a crate, or a small space dedicated solely to your pet, ideally set up a few weeks in advance)
  • Walk your pet before it is dark
  • Stay in with your pet and allow them space to settle where they feel the safest (remember to stay calm and relaxed yourself since your pet will often pick up on your anxiety)
  • Experiment with different enrichment strategies to provide a distraction
  • Provide pheromone support (there are dog appeasing pheromone products, and similar products for cats, that can have a calming effect)
  • Ensure your pets are microchipped and the details are kept up to date
  • Close curtains to block out flashes and ensure windows are shut and the house is secure
  • Have the radio on for them (classical music has been shown to be calming for pets)
  • Ensure your cats are kept inside


Small furries: what can you do to minimise stress?

  • Plan ahead to ensure their needs have been considered
  • Cover runs and cages with a blanket to muffle loud sounds
  • Provide extra bedding to allow them to bury into and hide in
  • Bring inside if possible
  • Put familiar sounds on e.g. tv or radio

What we can do for your pet

  • We will need to see your pet to be able to discuss and dispense any prescription medication
  • Thunder shirt fitting for dogs
  • Discuss pheromone devices and options for both cats and dogs
  • Rule out any other reasons your pet is fearful (e.g. pain, illness)
  • Discuss individual coping strategies


Antifreeze Poisoning

Ethylene glycol, which is a chemical component in antifreeze products, is highly toxic to cats. Even small amount, if ingested, can cause antifreeze poisoning and can lead to death. Once ingested, antifreeze can be absorbed quickly, and the damage done, in as little as 40-60 minutes.

Why would my cat drink antifreeze?

To cats, ethylene glycol is very palatable. It has a sweet taste which means animals, and children, can be attracted to it. Spillages can get on cats’ paws that they then ingest whilst grooming.

What to do if my cat has ingested antifreeze?

Ingesting as little as 1.4ml per kg of body weight can result in death. If there is any suspicion that your cat has ingested even a small volume, take them to a vet immediately. If there is antifreeze on your pet’s paw(s), wash off immediately, then travel straight to the vet.

After ingestion, symptoms can be seen as early as 30 minutes following ingestion. Often signs can be delayed by up to 12 hours. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea, weakness, increased thirst, increased urination, depression, ataxia (wobbliness and disorientation) and rapid breathing.

Delayed treatment causes acute kidney failure. This usually develops quickly (within 12-24 hours post ingestion) and, unfortunately, often results in fatality.