A sad and stressed looking dog looking up towards camera.

How to keep animals safe during fireworks.

The loud sounds and bright lights of fireworks can cause distress, injury, or worse – but there are several things you can do to help companion animals and wildlife during New Year's Eve and other celebrations.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated June 1, 2023

Fireworks often dazzle crowds during New Year’s Eve events and other celebrations throughout the year – but for companion animals and wildlife, the loud explosions and bright lights can be terrifying.

Here are six ways you can help ensure our animal friends are safer during fireworks:

1. Provide a safe haven

Before festivities begin, bring companion animals inside and make sure that your house is safe and secure – close windows, draw blinds/curtains, turn on the TV or radio for background noise.

If you have larger animals (such as horses) in your care, stable them for the evening and shield them from outside noise as much as possible. Make their area as safe and comfortable – provide access to water and food and remove any dangerous objects that could cause accidental injury.

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A dog peers through the door of an enclosure with sad eyes.

2. Don’t underestimate what panicked animals might do to escape

Some companion animals can become so spooked they will do anything to escape – including bolting over high fences and even through glass windows. Do your very best to ensure your property is escape-proof so that they don’t flee in fear, risking running across roads or becoming lost.

To avoid the risk of injury (and to ensure they have the freedom to move around) never restrain dogs with a leash, chain or rope. Animals can choke and/or be seriously injured if they become panicked while tied up.

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A scared cute cat hiding and curiously looking towards camera

3. Make sure they can be easily reunited with you if they do become lost

In case they do find a way to run off, ensure animals are easily identifiable. If appropriate, have them wear a collar with their name and your phone number and/or address), and for microchips, always ensure that your personal details linked to them are kept up-to-date.

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A very sad looking dog looking out of the cage

4. Take your dog for a walk/play with animals during the day

Take your four-legged friend for a nice long walk or dedicate a decent amount of time to play with other animals during the day. After some tiring out with fun activities, they are more likely to sleep well later on.

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A senior dog happily stands on the grass with a ball in their mouth.

5. Know what to do if you come across distressed wildlife

Fireworks can be particularly terrifying for birds and other wildlife. Know what to do and who to contact if you come across distressed native animals, particularly on or close to roads.

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A koala sitting in the middle of the road looking confused.

6. Promote animal-friendly entertainment

If you are concerned about an upcoming fireworks event in your area, contact your local council to express your concern for local wildlife. You can also write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. By speaking out on behalf of native animals, you can raise awareness about the suffering of animals during fireworks and help promote entertainment that is fun for humans while also being considerate of the animals who we share the land with.

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A flying fox hanging upside down from the tree

More ways to help animals during fireworks

  • If in doubt, stay at home with companion animals instead of leaving them on their own, or try to arrange for a friend or family member to supervise them (and comfort them with company and games) if possible.
  • Spread the word! Share this article across your social channels to help promote awareness of how we can make the world a little kinder for all animals during New Year’s Eve and other celebrations.