Big golden fireworks

As New Year gets underway and skies are filled with the bright colours of fireworks, it’s easy to forget how terrifying they can be for those who don’t enjoy them.

Every year, households across the country have to deal with petrified pets who are left traumatised by the ‘big bang’ family entertainment and there are now calls for their use to be restricted.

Studies, like the one conducted by Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences, have found fireworks to be the leading cause of fearful behaviour in domestic dogs, according to their owners.

Dr Thryn Woodward, from The Veterinary Hospital in Lincoln, explains why animals have such drastic responses and symptoms to look out for in your furry friend:


Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s became the first in the country to stop selling fireworks amid growing concerns about their safety and the potential damage they can cause.

The animal charity RSPCA has also launched its own Bang Out of Order campaign to help make fireworks less frightening for animals. They’re calling for regulation changes which would help protect the welfare of household pets and other animals.

Recommendations from the RSPCA as a result of their Bang out of Order campaign calling for firework regulation changes to protect animals.

“We don’t want to spoil the fun, but for some animals, fireworks are no fun at all.”
Dr Thryn Woodward, The Veterinary Hospital, Lincoln

But the good news is that there are a few things that can be done to help make things a little easier for household pets.

For any small furries, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, the recommendations are to partly cover their hutches or cages with a blanket to help muffle the sound (don’t smother them!) and to bring them indoors wherever possible. Also add plenty of extra bedding to their homes to give them chance to burrow away and get comfortable for the duration of the fireworks.

Cats should be kept in if possible, but also given hiding places- don’t be alarmed if your cat finds safety up high on a shelf or the top of a cupboard.

If you have a dog, try and walk them in daylight and close windows, doors and curtains to muffle the outside sounds of the fireworks. Putting on music to help mask the sounds can also be very successful. If you have a puppy, or a new rescue dog, sound therapies, such as ‘Sounds Scary‘ by Dogs Trust, which help introduce them to the sounds of fireworks can also be beneficial. Research also suggests that a dog’s early life experience is an important factor in the development of fear responses to specific loud noises.

For further information on how to keep your pets safe, you can visit: