Fireworks are great fun but they can also cause great distress and concern for pets and pet owners.
With Guy Fawkes day fast approaching, we gently remind all pet owners to take extra care of their furry companions during this terrifying season. SPCA Canterbury receives dozens of calls at this time of year relating to fireworks issues including; animal injuries, frightened animals, missing pets and occasionally, abuse of animals.
Unfortunately the public sale of fireworks ensures that there is no 'set' day for fireworks to be used and therefore pet owners must remain vigilant at all times. We urge particular caution during the 'celebratory' months of Oct - Jan.
Please find below a list of 'tips' for the firework season and if you have any further queries or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us directly. You may also click here to download a printable version.
Fireworks and animals
- Never let fireworks off close to animals.
- If you are a pet owner and don’t need to go to a Guy Fawkes party, think about staying home to reassure and comfort your pets.
- Alternatively, find a reliable person who will stay with your pets and look after them in their familiar surroundings, or take them to the home of someone you know who will look after them and be there to reassure them when the fireworks start.
- Make sure your pets are indoors throughout the evening and that they can’t see or hear the fireworks.
- Exterior doors and windows should be secured to prevent your pets escaping and running away in terror.
- Interior doors and curtains/blinds should be closed as this will help muffle the sound of fireworks and prevent your pets being startled by the lights.
- It is a good idea to switch on the radio, television or stereo to distract your pets from the sound of fireworks. If there is no human present to look after the animals, it is even more important to leave the radio or television on for them.
- If a frightened animal hides under furniture or in a cupboard, don’t try to coax it out, you will only be adding to its distress. Allow the animal to hide and speak reassuringly, allowing it to come out in its own time.
- Make sure your dog or cat has a collar on with up to date contact details (or better yet, get your pet microchipped) just in case they get out and are panicked by the fireworks.
- If you have small pets that live outdoors, don’t forget to partly cover cages/pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound proofed. Also provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow in.
- If you have a particularly nervous animal with a known heart condition, speak to your veterinarian before Guy Fawkes night over whether calming medication would be suitable.
- You may also wish to put your animal in a reputable boarding complex over the Guy Fawkes weekend. Some facilities have regular bookings each year for animals who hate fireworks.
- Livestock owners should move their animals away from areas where firework parties are likely to take place. They should do this well in advance so that the animals have a chance to get used to their new surroundings.
- Livestock owners must also check that paddocks are well fenced and secure before the fireworks start. Frightened farm animals that get out of their paddocks can harm themselves and can also cause road accidents.
- People organising fireworks displays should let their neighbours know in advance. Put flyers in neighbour’s letter boxes. This will alert them to the need to make arrangements for their pets.
- Organisers of large fireworks displays should also place notices in local shop windows and inform local media.
- Firework party organisers should concentrate on fireworks which explode close to the ground and don’t make particularly loud bangs or screeches. These are likely to cause less distress to animals.