Guy Fawkes is coming up (5 November).

Before you purchase fireworks, think about the animals.

The NZVA supports a ban on the private sale of fireworks. To reduce the impact of fireworks on animals the NZVA encourages people to view a public fireworks display rather than purchasing fireworks for private use. We also encourage the public to continue to speak up on this issue and speak loudly for those who cannot speak themselves – animals.

Each year veterinary clinics see injured and traumatised animals as a result of fireworks. Some of the injuries are horrific. Fireworks can also cause severe anxiety and stress in animals and this psychological harm is a significant component of their compromised welfare.

While the NZVA understands that some people enjoy having private displays, it is the role of veterinarians to advocate for what is in the best interests of animals in New Zealand. The NZVA believes that a ban on private fireworks would improve welfare of those animals that find fireworks stressful.

Our Animal Welfare Act, is world-leading by virtue of acknowledging that animals are sentient (ie. the animal is not only capable of feeling pain and distress but also can have positive and negative psychological experiences). The NZVA believes that as a society we all have a responsibility to ensure that both the physical and mental harm to animals, including the harm caused by fireworks, is minimised.

The NZVA?s top tips to protect animals during Guy Fawkes are:

  1. Find out where and when firework displays will take place near you and take the following steps to minimise stress to your animal during these times.
  2. Keep pets indoors, preferably with curtains drawn and windows closed to reduce noise.
  3. Turn on the radio or television to create a familiar sound which can be comforting.
  4. Remove anything in the room where you are keeping your pet that could injure them.
  5. Provide blankets and pillows for your pet to hide under if they wish.
  6. Take your pet to an alternative location for the night if necessary.
  7. Owners should remain calm and provide quiet reassurance to their pet.
  8. If your pet has previously exhibited fear-related behaviour contact a veterinary clinic for additional coping advice strategies.