Figures from the RSPCA show hundreds of calls from concerned animal lovers – about animals from dogs and horses to tarantulas and pythons – are made about fireworks every year to the charity.
Although it is possible to treat firework phobias in some species, such as dogs, there’s a belief that if pet owners knew when to expect fireworks it would help them to prepare their pets, so they were better able to cope.
The charity would also like to see the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale reduced from 120 decibels – above the human pain threshold for noise -– to 97 decibels. This is likely to further reduce the stress to animals*.
Here, the RSPCA has offered insights into how you can keep your pets feeling safe during firework season.
How to calm dogs during fireworks
An RSPCA survey from February this year shows that 38% of dogs* are fearful of loud noises, such as fireworks, meaning thousands of animals’ lives are made a misery by fireworks every year. Here are five ways to help minimise exposure to fireworks.
- Walk them during daylight hours to avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off
- Close windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks
- Put on some music or tv to mask the firework sounds
- Create a quiet space where your dog can feel in control
- Create some hiding places around your home
How to calm cats during fireworks
Especially if they go outside of your home, the firework season can be dangerous for our feline friends. These tips can help you keep your cat feeling safe:
- Provide hiding places in your home
- Microchip your cats in case they’re startled and escape outside
How to calm small animals during fireworks
If you have a pet rabbit or Guinea pig, the chances are you’ll have their hutch out in the garden. But when fireworks are going off, it can leave your pet feeling frightened due to the noise. Here’s how you can help:
- Partly cover outside cages and pens with blankets so an area is soundproofed and hidden, but allow another area for the animals to look out
- Provide bedding small animals can burrow in
- Consider bringing them indoors – this will need to be done gradually so plan ahead
Top tips from our team
Lisa Hens, RSPCA welfare expert: “Firework phobia in pets is a treatable condition and we recommend seeking advice from your vet. There are also some simple things worried owners can do to help their pets cope, including, making sure dogs and cats are kept securely indoors, trying to mask the noise of the fireworks by turning on the TV or music, and providing pets with a safe place to hide at all times.
“Small animals that live outside should have lots of extra bedding, so they can burrow and some of their enclosure could be covered by a blanket for extra insulation and sound-proofing.”
How to treat firework phobia
Firework phobia is a treatable condition and animals don’t have to suffer such misery every year. Seek advice from your vet who will, if necessary, be able to refer you to a professional clinical animal behaviourist.
More information and resources about how to reduce stress in animals during fireworks season please visit our website: www.rspca.org.uk/fireworks. To get involved with the campaign visit: www.rspca.org.uk/fireworksaction
Notes to editors
- *Taken from the RSPCA DogKind report which had 3049 participants.
- For interviews and more information on the case studies please ring the press office.
- *These figures are taken from an RSPCA commissioned report ‘Quiet Please’.