Animals and fireworks

Find out what you can do to reduce stress to animals caused by fireworks and find advice if you're a pet owner.

Reduce stress to animals

Fireworks can mean misery for thousands of pets every year. Many need sedating or become so frightened they bolt and get lost or injured.

Animals’ hearing is many times more sensitive than humans’ so when something is loud to our ears, it is several times louder for them. You can help to reduce this distress and suffering by:

  • going to a public display instead of hosting a private display
  • using low-noise varieties of fireworks registered under category two of the British Standards. Visit the RSPCA Fireworks page for further details
  • inform your neighbours if you are going to host a private display at any time of the year as this will give people time to minimise the distress to their animals

Please remember that fireworks do not have to be loud to be impressive. Low-noise fireworks can be just as spectacular and less offensive to your neighbours and their pets.

Advice for pet owners

If a firework display is taking place in your area and you or a group of people are concerned about your animal’s welfare you can contact the organisers and explain your concerns – in some cases the organisers may alter the firework display to reduce noise levels.

If you are a pet owner follow this advice:

  • keep your pet indoors
  • close all windows and curtains
  • switch on music or television to drown out the noise of the fireworks
  • let your pet take refuge if it wishes to
  • ensure your pet is microchipped so that it can be returned to you if it escapes
  • if you have a dog make sure it is wearing a collar and tag
  • never walk your dog while fireworks are being let off
  • ask your vet about Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) or sedatives
  • bring small animals indoors or into an outhouse or shed
  • stable horses, ponies and donkeys while fireworks are being let off
  • build bonfires as late as possible and disturb the foundation to give any wildlife the chance to escape before it is lit.