Canada Day is upon us and along with it comes campfires, barbecues and fireworks!

With lots of celebration going on in the area, it’s a good time to remember that while the pyrotechnic productions and accompanying sonic booms of the mid-air explosions may be exciting for humans, fireworks shows are not so enjoyable for our furry friends!


The roaring explosions and bright lights of fireworks can be upsetting to your pet and even lead to harm. Fireworks can cause animals to panic, putting both pets and people in danger. When dogs and cats are frightened, they’re more likely to run away from their homes, jump out open windows or dart into traffic. Stressed or scared pets can also behave out of character, even scratching or biting people.

Here are some easy tips to ensure your pets are safe and content while the festivities are on the go!

Keep pets inside

An indoor pet is a happy pet on fireworks night. To help muffle the noise and prevent animals from escaping, remember to close the windows of your home and draw the curtains. Some pets do well left in a separate room with the radio or television on to mask the sound of fireworks.  Keep some lights on. Keeping a light on will calm your pet and make him feel more secure, rather than being scared in a dark room.

Prepare the room by selecting an area where you will contain the pets for the duration of the fireworks. An inner room that is least impacted by the noise is ideal. It should be a room that you can close off to prevent your pet from running about the house and injuring itself, wrecking furniture, etc. If you have more than one pet, be sure they don’t mind being confined in the same room, or select several rooms for different pets. For example, dogs and cats will usually appreciate being kept separate.

Make the room cozy. Put down familiar, clean bedding somewhere pleasant such as under a table, on or behind a chair, etc. Add some familiar toys, scratch pads, balls, etc., to keep your pets amused and distracted.


Ensure that the room temperature is pleasant; warm if it’s cold weather, or cool if it’s hot weather.

Add a litter tray for cats.

Remove any sharp items from the room in case your pet starts jumping or running around.

Provide food and hydration. Be sure to leave sufficient water and food for your pet in the confinement space. Many pets will be uneasy, or even frantic. If your pet has access to water, it will help calm him, and food supplied in your pet’s regular portion will make him feel like it’s a normal day.


Don’t console your anxious pet

While it is natural to want to comfort your pet, it is better to use a bright, cheerful voice to send a message that things are fine. Avoid saying things like, “it’s OK” or “don’t be scared” in a soft or sympathetic voice. This only reinforces your pet’s fearful behaviour. In the desire to ease our pet’s pain, sometimes we can transfer some of our anxiety and upset to the pet. If you’ve prepared properly in advance, there is no need to feel upset and worried as you can be reassured about the safety of your pet. Realize that the startled and frantic reactions of your pet are often the principal source of your own upset.

Being ready for their reactions can help to keep you calm as well.  Also, allow your pet to hide somewhere in the room if wished. It’s your pet’s way of coping (a “bolthole”) and dragging them out of a safe spot can increase their anxiety levels. Don’t fuss over her too much.


Check on your pet after the fireworks. Reassure him and remove the protection (blankets, etc.) as long as you’re sure that the loud fireworks are over. Let him have free run of the house to see how he behaves before considering letting him return outside (it might be best to wait until morning, if possible). Check for signs of stress in your pet.

  • For cats, signs of stress include running away, soiling the house, hiding away and refusing to eat.
  • For dogs, signs of stress include barking a lot, running away, soiling the house, hiding and cowering, clinging to owners, whimpering, trembling and shaking, pacing and panting, and refusing to eat.
  • If your pet is stressed, keep him indoors overnight. Keep a litter tray somewhere in the house, or walk a dog after the fireworks but don’t let him off his harness and be sure to stay with him the whole time.

Finally, remember it is best if you do go out to enjoy fireworks, leave home without your pet.

While you may think it would be fun to bring your dog to the festivities, he or she may not share your view. The strange sights, sounds, and crowds can cause a normally friendly dog to bite if it feels scared or threatened. A quiet night at home with their favourite toys and treats would probably suit them much better.

Remember having your pet properly identified with a tag and microchip will also ensure no matter what happens that your pet will have its best chance to get home to you in any situation if they do get loose!


Happy Canada Day to all you pet owners and pets!  Enjoy!  Do you have any tips to include here?  Comments welcome!


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