Keeping Pets Safe During New Year's Fireworks

Scared dog hides under the bed
Scared cat hides

Fireworks can be frightening and foreign for your pets. Learn how to make your pets comfortable and safe before the New Year's Fireworks light the sky.

Fireworks: Friend or Foe?

Happy New Year!  While fireworks are a staple celebration of revelers on New Year's, they may also be the bane of your pet’s existence. Fluffy’s eyes get big, the ears go back, he licks his lips, and looks for a place to hide. Fluffy’s scared, and when the “flight” mode kicks in, he won’t be thinking clearly. In a panic, he might jump your fence, dig under your gate, scratch through a screen, bolt through a window, or find a risky hiding place.

Multnomah County Animal Services wants you to prepare your pets and home for the barrage of fireworks on New Year's, but we’re here for you if your pet gets loose.

Shelter Holiday Closure

Multnomah County Animal Services will be closed on Tuesday, January 1, and on Wednesday, January 2.  

Firework Safety Basics

Be prepared to help your pets through their fears during firework displays.

  • Make sure your pets are licensed so MCAS can contact you as soon as they arrive at the shelter.  Licensing can be done online at MultcoPets.org
  • Be present: One of the best things you can do for your pets is to be present for them.  You can calm them better than a pet-sitter or a kennel staff member.  When you see that they’re afraid, call to them.  Go to your pet, or invite them to join you where you are.  Give them rubs and scratches.  Talk with them.  Be silly with them.  Play their favorite games.  Turn a scary experience into a learning opportunity. (source)
  • Secure your home: Plan ahead, and identify ways your pet could escape.  Close open windows and doors.  Don’t leave pets outdoors where they could jump a fence.  Make sure guests coming and going are careful not to let pets slip through the door.  (source)
  • Give your pet a safe space: Give your pet a confined, safe space in the center of your home, such as a spacious closet or a bathroom with a comfortable bed and water.  (source)
  • Use ambient noise: Play comforting music, or noise from a radio or TV. (source)
  • Seek help from a veterinarian: If your pet has a history of fear or anxiety with loud noises, including fireworks, talk with your veterinarian about your options.  They may be able to prescribe medication to help calm your pet.  They may also recommend a Thunder Shirt or wrap to calm and provide comfort.  (source)
  • Be sure contact information--your phone number and email address--is current on any id tag, license or microchip for your pet.