Small Pets and Fireworks

isolated cat


  • Small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, and mice are very sensitive to loud noises and stress.
  • Luckily, there are plenty of little things you can do at home to keep your pets calm throughout firework season.

Why are small pets scared of fireworks?

The bright flashes and loud bangs of fireworks can be exciting for us, but confusing and frightening for pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, and mice. This is because it’s difficult for them to understand that they aren’t in danger when they hear/see them, and most small pets are preyed upon in the wild, so are extremely sensitive to unfamiliar sights, noises and smells.

Signs of fear in small pets

Signs of stress and fear in small pets can be more difficult to spot than in cats and dogs so it’s important to watch them closely. Some signs you may see are:

  • Stamping their back feet (rabbits and guinea pigs)
  • Agitated/rapid movements
  • Trembling
  • Breathing faster
  • Staying very still in one spot
  • Trying to escape
  • Hiding
  • Eating less than normal
  • Aggression
  • Tooth grinding
  • A change in toileting habits

How to keep your small pet calm during fireworks

  • If they live outdoors, bring them inside for firework season/when fireworks are going off. Try to put them in a cool room so they aren’t stressed by the sudden change in temperature. If this isn’t possible, move their hutch into a car-free garage or shed. If the hutch can’t be moved indoors, turn it to face the wall at night, or partly cover it with blankets to block out as much light and sound as possible whilst still making sure there is good ventilation.
  • Give them plenty of hiding places so they feel safe – cardboard boxes or tubes work well, just make sure they have more than one entrance/exit so they don’t feel trapped.
  • Give them lots of extra bedding to help keep noise out and provide a hiding place.
  • Close curtains before it gets dark and leave the lights on to hide the flashes.
  • Play some music to help drown out the noises from fireworks. Classical can work well, or something with a deep bass to help cover up any bangs – just make sure it’s at a volume your small pet is comfortable with i.e. not too loud!
  • Keep them occupied with their favourite treat or toy.
  • Keep bonded pairs/groups together so they feel safe and secure.
  • Never light a bonfire/sparklers/set off fireworks anywhere near them - the sight, smell and noise will be terrifying, and smoke can cause breathing problems. If your neighbours are having a bonfire/fireworks bring your pets inside.
  • If your small pet is still scared of fireworks despite all of these steps, speak to your vet for advice.

Products/medicines to help small pets with firework fear

Unfortunately, unlike with cats and dogs, there aren’t yet any calming products proven to reduce anxiety in small pets. There are some herbal supplements available that might help, but the most important thing to do is to protect them from the sound, sight and smell of fireworks as much as possible by following the advice above.

When to contact your vet

You should contact your vet if:

  • You have tried the recommended steps in this article and your pet is still scared of fireworks.
  • Your pet suddenly becomes fearful of fireworks: they may need a check-up to ensure there isn’t a medical reason for this, such as pain or illness.


How do I make sure there are no hedgehogs in a bonfire?

Hedgehogs often take shelter in unlit bonfires, so it’s best to build or rebuild them as close as possible to when they’re being lit. It’s also a good idea to disturb the bottom of a bonfire 20-30 minutes before lighting to let any wildlife escape beforehand.

Published: December 2022

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only. Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst.