Do you have a petrified pooch, a skittish horse or even a scaredy cat?

New Year’s Eve fireworks can be the scariest time for WA pets, with many left trembling and traumatised, and some taking off to try and escape the noise, becoming lost or in danger.
RSPCA WA offers these tips to keep pets safe and comfortable.

  1. Know if your home is near a planned fireworks site. A full list can be found on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation, and Safety website. So Perth has also compiled this handy list.
  2. Ensure your pet’s microchip is up to date with your current contact details, and that they’re wearing an ID tag, so that you can be easily reunited if they do manage to escape. 
  3. Prepare early. Exercise your dog before the fireworks start – do this in the evening when it’s cooler to avoid hot pavements, which could burn your dog’s paws. Then, after a couple of hours, feed them a meal. A tired and well-fed dog may be less anxious during the night.
  4. Keep pets indoors and provide access to a hiding place where they can retreat to – somewhere dimly lit and sheltered or enclosed such as a walk-in-robe or under the bed. Ensure they have access to food and water while in their hiding place, and a favourite blanket or toy for comfort.
  5. Close blinds or curtains, keep lights on, and play music or turn on the TV to mask sounds.
  6. Never tether your dog during fireworks and never use a choke chain to restrain them. Dogs who panic can choke themselves on a collar or lead.
  7. Dogs should not be left outside alone, as this greatly increases the risk of them experiencing fear and distress, as well as a greater likelihood of escape.
  8. Ensure small pets are secured in their hutch/enclosure and bring them inside.
  9. Stable horses and cover stable windows to mask the sight and sound of the fireworks. Ensure the stable is free from any sharp objects that could injure a horse if it becomes startled.
  10. If possible, stay home with your pets or organise for someone familiar to be home with them until the fireworks have finished.

RSPCA WA spokesperson Louise Rowe said dogs have far more sensitive hearing than we do, and the unexpected and ongoing loud bangs can make them really scared.

‘Dogs have been known to easily jump over, or dig their way under, fences that would usually contain them, which could cause injury,’ Louise said.

‘If your pet has ongoing trouble with loud noises, like fireworks and storms, you can also chat your vet about treatment options.’