A YORK veterinary practice is urging pet owners to be prepared for fireworks season to help keep their animals safe.

Minster Vets, which has six practices in the region, is advising owners to take steps now so their pets are less frightened by sudden flashes of light and loud bangs.

Celebrations often start in advance of November 5, which falls on a Sunday this year, and can continue for days or weeks afterwards, which can cause animals to run away.

Minster Vets’ senior veterinary surgeon Rona Williams said: “Pets and their owners can find the fireworks season a difficult time, especially because it spans several weeks.

“It is really worth thinking ahead to help keep animals happy, safe and comfortable.

“Providing a safe place where they can hide, like a den, is a good idea and there are also over-the-counter therapies that can help to keep them calm.

“Dogs should not be left on their own during this time and even pets that have not previously shown any fear can become sensitive, so it is a good idea to ask your vet for advice.

“The biggest worry is that many pets will bolt through fear so make sure doors and windows are shut.”


The RSPCA is campaigning for a change to firework laws to protect animals.

It says thousands of pets, horses and livestock are affected with private displays often making it impossible for neighbours to take proper precautions.

Figures released by the animal welfare charity say 69 per cent of UK adults with a pet take at least one measure to help relax or prepare their animal for fireworks season.

It wants to see fireworks regulations changed to protect pets, wildlife and farm animals with limits to the use and sale of fireworks, controlled zones for their use and a reduction in the noise level for public sale of fireworks down to 90 decibels – about the same as heavy traffic or a powered lawnmower.

A 2022 Bill passed through the Scottish Parliament introduced a firework licencing system and firework control zones, in addition to the key controls on supply and use of fireworks, especially to under-18s.

Minster Vets has issued ten tips to keep pets safe and calm during fireworks displays:

  • Keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are being let off.
  • Walk your dog in daylight hours to avoid being out when fireworks start
  • Keep windows and doors shut to reduce the sound of fireworks and block off cat flaps to stop frightened pets from fleeing. Leave internal doors open so they don’t feel trapped.
  • Create a safe place or ‘den’ for the evenings where they have their favourite toys and can’t see any flashes outside. Offer nutritious treats and toys and games that encourage them to forage but give them the choice to interact.
  • Close the curtains and put on music or the TV in advance to help drown out the noise of fireworks.
  • Make sure cats and dogs are wearing collars and tags in case they bolt and ensure microchip details are up to date so they can be quickly reunited with you.
  • Don’t leave your pet home alone in the evenings during fireworks season.
  • Keep calm, act as normal as possible and reassure your pet to make them feel safe and secure. Let them hide if they want and avoid scolding or shouting as they are already frightened, and this behaviour will make them feel worse.
  • Cover rabbit hutches or aviaries with blankets to block out sight of fireworks and reduce sound of bangs.
  • Bring hutches or cages indoors, if possible, or into a garage or shed.