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Across Australia annual celebrations may involve fireworks. Unfortunately, many animals are terrified by firework displays which can indirectly pose risks to animal safety by causing them to take flight and try to escape the loud noises. Dogs and horses in particular may be afraid of fireworks and many try to run away, sometimes injuring themselves in the process. We receive calls from distressed owners whose dogs have run away. Many of these dogs can end up several kilometres from home. Dogs have been known to jump through plate glass windows to escape loud noises, and easily jump over, or dig their way under fences that would normally contain them.
What can I do for my dog?
What about cats, rabbits and other pets?
Cats should be kept indoors during fireworks displays. Most cats will find somewhere safe to hide and will usually venture out when the noise stops. Make sure you cat is microchipped and your details are up to date on the microchip register in case they wander and become lost. Rabbits and other small animals like guinea pigs should be safely housed during the fireworks display.
Horses are particularly vulnerable to bolting when exposed to fireworks. If possible they should be securely stabled, or removed to a different location away from the fireworks display, and the risk of physical harm minimised. Remove any sharp objects that might injure a panicking animal, cover stable windows to hide the sight of the fireworks and dim the noise, and make sure you supply food and water.
Some dates to watch out for:
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Aus Vet Assoc (2016). Keep your pets safe and secure on Australia Day (media release Jan 20th). Retrieved from: https://www.ava.com.au/node/71029.
Gronqvist, G., Rogers, C. & Gee, E. (2016). The management of horses during fireworks in New Zealand. Animals, 6 (3) 20.