Pets during fireworks and thunderstorms

 Dog lying down, eyes wide openFireworks are loud and unfamiliar. They can be frightening for dogs, cats, horses and other animals. Thunderstorms have a similar effect as fireworks and can cause extreme panic for pets.

It is important to be prepared for nights when fireworks are going to be let off or when there is about to be a thunderstorm.

Dogs and cats are generally more relaxed when in the company of their owners. If you can not be at home to comfort your pet you need to make sure there is nothing in the house or yard the animal can injure itself on if it panics.

Preparation for fireworks or thunderstorm

When you know there are going to be fireworks or thunderstorms in your area ensure the three following steps:

  1. Pets are protected in a safe and secure environment.
  2. Pets are wearing identification (council tags).
  3. Pets are microchipped and owner details are up-to-date with the relevant registry.

Exercise your pet

In preparation for fireworks or thunderstorms, exercise can help your pet be more relaxed. Dogs, for example, need to have had a long walk so they don't have much spare energy to get excited or anxious.

If your pet is inside during the fireworks or thunderstorm:

  • turn the radio or television on to dim the noise from outside
  • close the blinds or curtains
  • leave the lights on so that the flashing lights from outside are less obvious

Your pet will gain confidence from you if you are calm during this time. It is important not to reinforce nervous behaviour.

Confine your pet

Make sure your dog or cat is confined to your property. A dog wandering at large may:

  • become injured, lost or stolen
  • incur a fine from your local council if picked up and taken to the pound

Legally, a pound or shelter has to keep a pet for 8 days before it can be sold or euthanaised. You will be contacted to collect your pet if it is identifiable.

Horses can also be frightened by loud noises, especially fireworks. Make sure your horse is well away from the area where fireworks can be seen or heard and in an enclosure that is solid and safe. A round yard with solid, high fences is recommended for housing horses that panic.

Microchip your pet

It is important that your dog or cat is permanently identifiable. It is a legal requirement to microchip your dog or cat. A microchip will make sure your pet can be identified and returned to you. Your details will be linked to the microchip number and retained at a pet registry that can be accessed 24 hours a day.

It is not a legal requirement for horses to be microchipped, however, it is recommended. It makes it easier for council officers to identify and return your horse if it does escape.

Page last updated: 12 Jul 2020