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​Ah, the annual marquee fireworks in Darling Harbour for New Year’s Eve. There is just something magical about the New Year’s fireworks in Sydney; every year we Ooh and Aah as spectacular colours, lights and sounds light up the Sydney Harbour sky. At least we humans do, but as pet owners would know quite well, our furry (or scaly!) companions may not necessarily share our joy. There is not much we can do to share our enjoyment with our pets, but we can at least help them be a bit more comfortable!
Many pet owners have a story or two about their dog or cat hiding during thunderstorms. The loud noises and sudden flashes of light would terrify the most stalwart of us human beings if we did not know where they came from and that we would not be hurt by them. This is what animals face when confronted by thunderstorms, and fireworks are no different. They are potentially even more frightening due to their rarity; a dog may face many a thunderstorm over their lives, however fireworks are a lot rarer in comparison.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth your time when all that’s going to happen is your dog may hide under the bed for a while, you would be sorely mistaken. According to RSPCA NSW Executive Manager of Animal Care Services Brandon Neilly, pets have been known to take extraordinary measures to try to escape the noise and lights from fireworks. The RSPCA receives many calls about dogs jumping or digging under fences, and tragically dogs being injured during their attempts at escape and even being hit by cars.
Fortunately there are many easy steps you can take to avoid this tragic outcome, and they don’t have to involve you staying at home on New Year’s Eve to take care of your pet. It is recommended to keep your pet indoors, leave it lots of food and water, and also turn your TV or sound system on to help drown out the noise from the fireworks. You could also leave your pet’s favourite toy and some tasty treats to try to distract it from the distressing noises. If there’s anything that your pet could potentially hurt itself on inside the house, you should remove them is possible. 5 minutes’ work could save you and your family months of worry and/or heartbreak!
In the event of a fear-fuelled escape, if your pet is properly microchipped and/or tagged it will vastly improve your chances of finding it again! Microchipping is something all pet owners (where feasible) should look into anyway, but here it may serve to save your pet should it run away.
If you do stay at home for the New Year, it is important to stay calm so that you do not make your pet’s stress worse.
From all of us at Concord Vets, we wish you and your pets the Happiest of New Years!