Firework Anxiety in Dogs and Cats 

Many people use firework displays to celebrate and enjoy the warm weather. However, fireworks can cause a variety of reactions in animals. While some pets may remain unbothered by the sudden explosions’, others may shake, hide or escape. These reactions can lead to injuries, lost pets and even death. 

Before fireworks, talk to your vet if your pet gets anxious. It’s important to be safe and prepared for any potential risks. If your pet’s behavior is unknown during these events, we recommend not leaving them alone. These situations are best to navigate with your pets, as an owner will best know their animal’s daily behaviors. 

If fireworks are happening outside, it’s best to bring your pet inside or make sure their outdoor area is safe. If your pet is outside during fireworks, they could become scared or injured. Bringing them inside will keep them safe and calm. 

Make sure to plan and keep your pet’s well-being in mind during fireworks displays. If your pet needs to go potty during fireworks, make sure they are in a fenced yard or on a leash. 

Prepare for your pet potentially escaping by getting them microchipped (link to booking) and always having an ID tag on their collar. Having a plan helps owners and pets prepare and understand their pet’s needs. 

Signs of Firework Anxiety in Pets 

The following list details how pets commonly display anxiety and fear. Does your pet show any of these signs? If so, they may be telling you they are feeling distressed. 

  • Pacing 
  • Increase in water intake 
  • Excessive drooling 
  • Panting 
  • Vocalizing 
  • Hiding behind or under objects 
  • The desire to climb an owner or to be held 
  • Attempt to escape 

If you notice any of these signs in your pet, schedule a visit (link to booking page) with our Charlotte, NC vets for a pet care consultation.  

Ways to Help Your Pet During Fireworks 

  • Music or White Noise – Turning on calming music or white noise can help drown out the sound of fireworks and create a more peaceful environment. There are playlists and albums created specifically to relax pets. Classical music or specially designed pet music can be a wonderful resource. Play the music at a medium volume to cover the sound of the fireworks without causing extra stress. 
  • Thundershirts – Thundershirts are snug-fitting garments that apply gentle, constant pressure to a pet’s torso. This pressure can have a calming effect, helping to reduce anxiety and fear. Many pet owners have found Thundershirts to be highly effective during stressful events. Ensure that the Thundershirt is the right size and put it on your pet before the fireworks start to give them time to adjust. 
  • Feliway Spray – Feliway spray is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure. Spraying Feliway in the environment can create a sense of well-being and calmness for cats. It can be used on bedding, carriers, or any area where your cat likes to rest. 
  • Medications – In some cases, natural remedies might not be enough to calm your pet. There are various prescription medications that your pet’s veterinarian may recommend. Consult with your veterinarian to find a remedy that works well for your furry friend! Always use medications as directed by your veterinarian and ensure they are appropriate for your pet’s specific needs. 
  • Consulting a Behaviorist – Did you know Charlotte is home to a board-certified Veterinary Behaviorist? Southeast Animal Behavior & Training is passionate about helping animals and understanding their behavior. Dr. O’Brian offers consultations to meet and discuss pet’s needs. Additionally, they offer training and follow-up services. If you’re interested in scheduling your pet, please give their team a call at (704) 368-4586. 


Fireworks can be a challenging time for pets, but with the right strategies, you can help them stay calm and safe. Being aware of signs your pet may be in distress will help allow you to address the concern as soon as possible and implement the remedy that works best for your pet! 

Playing calming music, using Thundershirts, applying Feliway spray, considering medications, and consulting a behaviorist are all effective remedies. By preparing in advance and understanding your pet’s needs, you can make fireworks a less stressful experience for your beloved companions. 

Schedule a Vet Appointment Today!  

Independence Veterinary Clinic (link to main website page) is here to serve clients and their pets in Charlotte, NC, and nearby areas. Easily schedule an appointment by phone (link to call) and experience the outstanding veterinary care we offer. Your pet deserves the best, and we strive to deliver excellence every day.  

Charlotte Emergency Clinics Available on the Fourth of July  

Independence Veterinary Clinic will be closed on July 4, 2024. With this, the following clinics will be open if questions or medical needs arise. 

  • Veterinary Emergency Group (980) 880-6062 
  • Charlotte Animal Referral & Emergency (704) 457-2300 
  • Carolina Veterinary Specialist (704) 815-3939 
  • Skyline Veterinary Specialist & Emergency (704) 672-5590 


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