Unscheduled fireworks: vigilance keeps your pet safe

This Australia Day the State Government of Victoria has cancelled the 2020 Fireworks display, and many councils have followed suit.

While this is a welcome sigh of relief for pet owners, it doesn’t prevent unscheduled fireworks which cause pets distress.

On New Year’s Day Lort Smith was quieter than usual thanks to the vigilance of pet owners in the community.

“In previous years we would see a number of pets injured that have been trying to escape the sound of fireworks. Thankfully this year pet owners have been keeping a closer eye on their furry friend’s wellbeing – that’s a great thing,” said Dr Andrew Kapsis, Lort Smith’s Head Veterinarian of Inpatients.

While there were only a handful of cases directly related to dogs trying to escape fireworks, it did show constant vigilance through the festive period is necessary.

American Staffy, Harley, came to Lort Smith after his carers noticed he had worn his nails to the quick after being spooked by local unscheduled fireworks.

“We kept Harley inside until 12:30am, after the scheduled fireworks,” said Harley’s carer, Courtney.

Sadly, unscheduled fireworks that started after Harley’s carers went to bed scared him, resulting in badly damaged paws. Courtney was instructed to bathe Harley’s paws in salty water for seven days after his hospital visit at Lort Smith, and Harley’s walks were restricted while his paws recovered.

“Harley’s case shows that pet owners need to be vigilant on festive occasions, even when official fireworks are cancelled or have finished. The trouble with unscheduled fireworks is we don’t know when or where they will happen,” added Dr Kapsis.

Five tips to keep pets safe during unscheduled fireworks:

  1. If you hear unscheduled fireworks, check on your pets immediately. Keep them safe and secure, and where possible inside.
  2. Cover any windows to further block out noise and flashes of the fireworks.
  3. Keep the TV or radio on to muffle outside noise and distract your pet.
  4. If you are leaving your pet home while celebrating, bring them inside and shut the windows to block noises from unofficial fireworks.
  5. Ensure your pet’s microchip details are up to date so you have the best chance of being reunited should they escape.

If you find a stray animal, take it to your local council or pound facility. Injured animals can be taken to Lort Smith located in North Melbourne, or a local vet.

Lort Smith is open every day of the year until midnight for emergency appointments.