Hallowe’en and Firework Phobias in Pets

Pets commonly suffer with phobias during the firework and Hallowe’en season. This can be a very distressing time for the owner as well as for the pet. Up to 80% of pet owners report that their pet is afraid of fireworks and many of these will suffer from noise phobia. This causes them to react to certain noises suddenly, extremely and excessively. Some stress indicators that an owner should be aware of that they may not realise are blinking, lip licking, yawning excessively, ground sniffing, shaking, stiffening, pacing, and dilated pupils, as well as the obvious howling, barking, distruction and hiding. Halloween is a common time of the year for pets to go missing or to be injured on the roads.

Some tips to cope during this time with an anxious pet;

  • Provide a den/hiding place with a comfortable bed, were they will feel safe. It is often a good idea to leave some of the owners clothing to give them a sense of reassuring presence.
  • Keep your pet indoors with the windows closed and leave a radio/television on. Always leave a litter tray for cats.
  • Exercise you pet early in the day and provide mental stimulation during the evening such as chew toys and treats.
  • Ensure that all pets are wearing identification tags or are microchipped.
  • Ignore fearful behaviour, extra attention to comfort pets will result in the behaviour being rewarded and the problem getting worse over time.
  • There are plug in diffusers, sprays and collars containing pheromones, as well as other products available from The Animal Hospital, which can help to relieve anxiety in pets.
  • In severe cases, your pet can visit the vet, who may be able to prescribe medication to help in the short term. In the long term, a qualified behaviourist should be seen about noise desensitisation in preparation for next year.


If you are having problems with your pet this Halloween, please contact the clinic in Tallaght. Our vets will be happy to help!


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