Fireworks: Pet safety tips
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Fireworks: Pet safety tips

June 29, 2019

Fireworks can be upsetting to our furry friends. Sometimes animals may panic, which can put both pets and people in danger. If they become stressed or scared, they may behave out of character, which can include scratching or biting,  running away from home or even dart into traffic.

Here are some ways to keep your furry friends safe during fireworks displays.

Keep them inside

Plan ahead: if you tend to take your dog for longer walks in the evening, consider walking them earlier in the day, when loud light shows are highly unlikely to take place. It’s also best to avoid bringing them to displays as this can easily scare them. They’ll be so much happier when they’re at home, and not overwhelmed by dozens – or even hundreds of people or exposure to loud, bright fireworks displays.

Home is secure

Ensure doors and windows are locked. Sometimes people find animals do well if they are left in a separate room with the radio or television on to mask the sound of fireworks. You can also leave toys in the room for them so they don’t think they’re being isolated as a punishment.

Pet identification is up to date

If they don’t have a microchip or a tattoo, make sure they are wearing clear, current identification. It’s also important to register your pet’s microchip,  tattoo or license with the BC Pet Registry. Submitting your pet’s information to our provincial database will ensure your pet is traceable by veterinarians and shelters across the province and internationally.


  • Fear: Approximately 49% of dogs are fearful of loud noises (1) such as fireworks, thunderstorms and gunshots. Exploding fireworks create serious issues for animals in our communities.
  • Dogs who are normally friendly can sometimes act out of character due to their fear, placing members of the public, including children, at risk.
  • Lost pets: Fireworks can spook our pets and cause them to panic. Pets can run away, escaping out partially open or screened windows or even dart into traffic. Incidences of lost pets increase markedly during and after fireworks displays.
  • Wildlife: In recent years, evenings of fireworks have been demonstrated to have a negative impact on bird behaviour(2). Birds and other wild animals can be scared out of dens and roosting sites, leading them to fly into buildings or run into busy streets to be injured or killed.
  • Those that are not harmed are still disturbed, leading to reductions in natural feeding and breeding behaviours, as well as the abandonment of their young in nests or dens.
  • In addition to the above consequences, harmful smoke and garbage waste from fireworks are secondary threats to the health of local wildlife.

References:

1 Blackwell, EJ, Bradshaw, JWS, & Casey, RA (2013). Fear responses to noises in domestic dogs: Prevalence, risk factors and co-occurrence with other fear related behaviour. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 145, 15-25.

2 Shamoun-Baranas, J et al. (2011). Birds flee en mass from New Year’s Eve fireworks. Behavioural Ecology 22(6), 1173-1177.