Many animals find fireworks scary. It is estimated that 45 per cent of dogs show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.
It doesn’t have to be that way though, so don’t ignore the problem. Firework phobia is a treatable condition and animals don’t have to suffer such misery every year. Seek advice from your vet who will, if necessary, be able to refer you to a professional clinical animal behaviourist.
There are also lots of simple things you can do to help your pet deal with fireworks. By preparing in advance before fireworks start your pet will be better able to cope with the noises.
Download our leaflet ‘Fireworks frighten animals – help them feel safe (PDF 56KB)’ which includes:
- lots of great tips for keeping your pets secure during fireworks. Follow our top tips to make firework celebrations less frightening for your pet.
- information on keeping dogs, cats and small animals safe during fireworks.
- introducing ‘Sounds Scary’ – a therapy pack aimed to teach your dog to be less afraid of loud noises. Sound Therapy 4 Pets.
Acknowledgement for this information is made to Prof Daniel Mills. Read more about our Expert contributors.
Keeping cats and dogs secure
• Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if he or she wants to and has access to this place at all times. For example this could be under some furniture or in a cupboard.
• During firework seasons, walk dogs during daylight hours and keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.
• At nightfall close windows and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks.
• If your pet shows any signs of fear try to ignore their behaviour. Leave them alone unless they are likely to harm themselves.
• Never punish or fuss over your pet when it’s scared as this will only make things worse in the long run.
• Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there’s a sudden noise. Have your pet microchipped in case they do escape.
Advice and tips on keeping your pets safe during the “fireworks season”.
Even though it is illegal to discharge fireworks without a permit within 500 meters of a developed area within the Sol Plaatje Municipal Boundaries, there will be those who disregard this by-law.
THE EXPLOSIVES ACT No 26 OF 1956: This law applies nationwide.
It is unlawful to discharge any firework in any building, on any public thoroughfare or in any public place or resort without prior written permission of the local authority. (Section 10.34)
Section 10.35 relates to public displays of fireworks and states that no person may do so on any premises without the written permission of the Chief Inspector of Explosives (commonly known as “having a permit”). This written permission will stipulate conditions and any non-compliance with them is a criminal offence. In terms of the Explosives Act, no person shall allow or permit any children under the age of 16 to handle or use fireworks except under the supervision of an adult person. This Act is enforced by the South African Police Service (SAPS)
The discharge of fireworks are governed by the Sol Plaatje Municipal Fireworks By-Law