December 16th 2020

Firework Safety and Your Pets

As New Year’s Eve approaches and the excitement of a new year draws ever closer it is important to remember that whilst the evening, for humans, may be exciting, it can also be rather scary for animals. 

Across the country, many will be letting off fireworks in anticipation of the new year and a fresh start. For ourselves, this may be a time for celebration but for animals it can be a stressful and unnerving experience. 

In today’s blog entry, we cover the importance of animal safety and share our advice on what you can do to make the evening less stressful for your animals. 

Did you know that fireworks can reach up to 150 decibels? This roughly equates to the loudness of a jet engine and, with animals particularly sensitive to noise, the unexpected sounds and bright lights can be upsetting and traumatic. Ahead of New Year’s Eve we encourage pet owners and animal keepers to prepare to prevent possible injury and distress to their pets and livestock during these festivities. 

Whilst there are appropriate behavioural techniques and strategies that can help pet owners and animal keepers to treat more severe cases of anxiety and fear that fireworks can cause, certain owners may wish for pre-emptive advice in order to minimise distress. 

Feedback from the profession suggests that, whilst there may be new treatment regimes that can be given ‘last minute’, it is well worth contacting your vet ahead of time to ensure the best possible options for treatment of your animal and preparations can be made.

We share our top tips to keep animals safe this New Year’s Eve and reduce potential harm.

  • If your pet gets distressed by fireworks or other noises, contact your local vet to discuss treatment options. This may include drugs to help dogs with noise phobias or pheromone products to apply next to your pets’ den and around the house to keep them calm.
  • Avoid taking your dog for a walk at night on New Year’s Eve. Fireworks may be let off earlier than one may anticipate which can scare your dog. Dogs can get easily scared and run into roads that can injure both the owner and the dog themself. 
  • Create a well-padded den for your pet to access ahead of fireworks season so they have a safe place to hide when fireworks start.
  • Ensure your pet is microchipped and your details are up to date on the database, in case it runs away from home.
  • Move small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs indoors.
  • Close windows and curtains and provide background noise to help mask the fireworks.
  • Keep livestock housed at times when fireworks are likely to be set off locally and remove any firework debris from grazing pasture before letting them out.
  • Horses may be better turned out in a field than stabled, as in a stable they may feel enclosed and unable to move.
  • If you’re hosting a fireworks display, avoid setting them off near horses, livestock or companion animals. Dispose of any debris and remnants of fireworks responsibly.
  • Finally, if you are planning on letting off fireworks as part of your New Year’s celebrations, it can be extremely helpful to let your neighbours who have pets know your plans so they can make adequate preparations ahead of the evening. 

Ahead of New Year’s Eve, it is important to spare a thought for our animals and pets who may be startled and scared at the sounds. For further information, consult your vet who can offer tailored advice for your pet and situation. 

On behalf of the VCMS, we wish all a happy new year!

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