Firework safety for kids and pets

Firework safety for kids and pets

Useful advice and bonfire night tips to make sure your family and your cats and dogs have good, safe fun.


Celebrating bonfire night can be a great way to brighten up the cold winter season before Christmas excitement comes along, but it’s important to remember that fireworks can be harmful and that all animals can find the noise and flashes of fireworks upsetting.

The Firework Code

If you’re buying a box of fireworks to set off in your own garden or even just getting a packet of sparklers to share at a party, it’s important to be aware of the Firework Code – advice from the Chief Fire Officers Association to ensure that your guests, your children, your pets and your home are all safe on bonfire night.

Some of the codes are:

  • Only buy fireworks marked with the safety standard code BS 7114.
  • Keep all the fireworks safe and out of reach of children in a closed box, indoors and away from heat sources.
  • Take one firework out of the box at a time and replace the box lid before taking the firework to the place where you’re going to set it off.
  • Follow the specific instructions on each firework – using a battery operated torch (not a lighted match or taper) to see the instructions if you’re in the dark.
  • Position guests well back from where you are lighting the fireworks and walk back to join them as soon as you have lit each one.
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit – even if it hasn’t gone off as you expected, it could still explode.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket (even used or unlit ones).
  • Always supervise children around fireworks.
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves while handling them.
  • Never give sparklers to a child under five years old.
  • Keep pets indoors (for more pet safety, see below).

For more useful bonfire night safety tips, check out the RoSPA Safer Fireworks website.

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Check out our article on Firework night party ideas, it includes recipes for if you’re hosting your own party and a pick of 10 great organized public displays around the UK to treat the family to.

Fireworks and pet safety

Most of us know that pets should be kept indoors when fireworks are being let off, but we have some other top tips to help make sure your pets stay safe and happy at this time of year.

Dr Monica Lundervold PhD MRCVS is the IAMS vet spokesperson. She shares some useful advice with us here. ‘All animals are affected by fireworks because there are sudden noises that they are not used to,’ says Monica. ‘But let’s deal here with cats and dogs.’

  1. Keep your pets indoors and close windows and doors.
  2. Keep dog leads on, even indoors, because dogs can run a long way if they’re frightened.
  3. Make sure you have somewhere your pets feel safe and can hide if they need to – a favourite basket or chair, for example, that isn’t in a room that has been shut off to them.
  4. If your dog is frightened inside, don’t comfort or console him. If you do, he will think there’s a good reason to panic. Instead, try to ignore his panic and carry on calmly as you would on a normal evening.
  5. If you know that a neighbour or someone else nearby is having fireworks at a certain time, give your pet something nice to distract him, just beforehand. It might be a nice bone to keep a dog busy, or a new plaything for your cat.
  6. During periods when fireworks will most likely be going off, try to make sure someone is at home if you can, so that pets aren’t left alone. Dogs can be very destructive when they’re frightened.
  7. If your dog does react and makes a mess, don’t tell him off. Just stay calm.
  8. At this time of year it can be hard to avoid fireworks, but take your dog for a walk during the day not the evening if you possibly can – fireworks are a lot less likely to go off in daylight hours.
  9. Even if you usually have somewhere you can take your dog’s lead off when you’re out for a walk, it’s a good idea to keep the lead on at this time of the year, in case a firework does go off nearby.
  10. If you have a young pet or one that tends to get particularly frightened I would highly recommend getting a special CD of firework noises beforehand. Ideally, you could start playing this as early as one or two months ahead, but even if you don’t have that much time, start using it now, playing it quietly at first and very gradually turning up the volume each time you play it, to get your pet used to the noise.
  11. Finally, if your dog tends to get really frightened, talk to your vet. Your vet knows your dog and can help if there are issues that your pet needs help with.

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Katieee

Katieee

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Fantastic advice for pets....my wee dog is old now and wasn't that scared when he was younger, however he's petrified of fireworks now. Bless him. ����

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