Pets and Fireworks

Firework displays are often planned either in November, New Year or even a special celebration. Whilst the spectacle and sound of these events are what we enjoy its not so for our cats, dogs and other domestic pets. Animals have very acute hearing and loud bangs may actually cause them pain; this, coupled with flashes from fireworks, can create a massive change in the animal’s environment which can be unsettling and scary to them.

By following simple guidelines you can help your pet feel secure and safe during the fireworks season.

  • Keep your cat or dog inside and if possible make a den for them to feel secure in.
  • Of course dogs should never be taken to a firework display nor walked or left alone in the garden while fireworks are going off nearby.
  • Close windows and doors and lock cat flaps to prevent escapees, draw the curtains and if they are used to a particular sound i.e. TV or radio try to leave that on too.
  • Ensure your dog (and cat if possible) is wearing an identification tag on its collar so if they should run away they can be easily returned to you.

REMEMBER -  it is a legal requirement that a dog wears a collar with identification at all times. Dogs that have been panicked by fireworks can run long distances, a couple of years ago a collie ran from Hungerford to Andover after it had been frightened by fireworks.

  • This is a good time to think about getting your pet microchipped, as dogs can end up in a completely different area.
  • Praise your dog for being calm.
  • Try not to over react yourself or to overcompensate for the pets actions but remain calm yourself, remember pets can be exquisitely aware of their owner’s body language and will look to you for reassurance.
  • You do not need to pick up pets if they are anxious as this will give a false signal to them, praising their anxiety and may have the opposite effect to that intended by constraining the pet when they may feel better if they are free.
  • Small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs should be brought inside or moved in to the shed or garage if at all possible, if you can’t do this turn the hutch to face a wall or cover the hutch with a thick blanket to block the sights and sounds, ensuring there is still sufficient ventilation. Give your pet extra bedding to bury into.

With a little forethought we can enjoy the celebrations without causing any undue stress to our pets.

Further information on how to care for your pet over the fireworks season in particular can be found on:

Alternatively, you can contact:

The Animal Welfare Officer
Telephone:  01264 368000