The RSPCA ACT is urging Canberrans to get their pets ready for the New Year’s Eve fireworks as they can find them “scary and confusing”.
The sudden loud noises associated with fireworks can be particularly frightening for dogs with RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson saying they even sometimes try to jump through windows as they look to escape.
“In the past, we’ve had animals come in for treatment after jumping through windows. It’s incredibly distressing for a pet and their only thought is to escape – by any means,” said Ms Robertson.
“Not only can animals injure themselves trying to escape, but once they’re out of the house the possibility of them getting hit by a car or coming to harm increases significantly.
“Please make sure that your pet’s microchip details are up-to-date so that you can be reunited as quickly as possible if they manage to escape.”
Ms Robertson said that prior to the use of fireworks on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend being banned in the ACT in 2009, the fireworks had a big impact on local pets.
“In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for staff to arrive at the Shelter with the ‘drop-off’ kennels full and dozens of animals tied to the fences after being found roaming the streets,” Ms Robertson said.
“When the firework ban came into effect before the Queen’s Birthday in 2009, we saw an immediate decrease of over 31 per cent of incoming stray animals.”
The RSPCA ACT has put together a list of things pet owners can do to help their animals cope with the fireworks:
- Make sure your dog or cat is microchipped and wearing an ID tag with your phone number on it, in case they become lost. It’s a good idea to keep them indoors if possible.
- Please don’t tie your dog up. They can get overly anxious and may cause themselves harm trying to escape.
- Make sure your dog has had plenty of exercise and has been fed as this will help to settle it. Plenty of playtime during the day should help with some of the nerves that night.
- Create a comfortable hiding place for your pet so they can feel safe and secure. This could be in a dark room or a burrow created with pillows or blankets.
- Distraction! If you’re home, it’s a good idea to put on some music to help mask the noises from outside. You can even try to distract them with treats and toys.
- Invest in an anxiety vest for your pet. Not only does this help with the anxiety of fireworks, but storms and other loud noises too. It creates a gentle and constant pressure that has a calming effect on most dogs.
The RSPCA ACT advises anyone who has strong concerns to speak to a veterinary professional for further options on how to help their pet.
Do your pets get scared during fireworks? Do they try to run away and how do you try to calm them down? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.