Fireworks consultation

Every year, thousands of animals suffer stress and anxiety caused by the use of fireworks.  The Scottish SPCA has been aware of incidents over the years of animals coming to harm, or even death, as a result of fireworks.

fireworks posterWe understand the joy of fireworks events and displays. However, we believe that this joy shouldn’t be at the expense of our beloved pets and wildlife.

The Society has supported tighter restrictions on the public use of fireworks for years. Earlier this year, the Scottish Government held a public consultation on the views and use of fireworks. This is a very positive step for animal welfare.

The consultation results show there is overwhelming public support for the restriction of the public use of fireworks for animal welfare reasons.

How can you help?

We believe public awareness is at the heart of the solution. Please don’t be the reason that your neighbour’s dog suffers severe stress and anxiety, or your local farm animals startle and get into trouble in their moment of panic.

Every year our animal helpline receives hundreds of calls related to fireworks and animal abuse, or from concerned callers seeking advice regarding their own pets. According to research 45% of dogs show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.

Top tips for fireworks night:

  • Do not walk your dog at a time when fireworks are being set off. Make sure this is done earlier in the day, preferably when it is still light

  • Bring all pets, including outdoor pets such as rabbits, indoors and ensure they are comfortable and warm
  • If your pet seems restless, moving from room to room, allow them the freedom to do this. Do not force them to stay in one place, even if you hope to comfort them. It could be a sign they are looking for a safe space
  • Make sure doors, windows and catflaps are closed so your pet doesn’t get scared and run away
  • Ensure dogs are not left at home alone
  • If you have purchased fireworks for your own display, inform your neighbours so they can take the necessary precautions to limit exposure to their pets
  • If your dog is anxious around fireworks, do not, under any circumstances, take them to a fireworks display
  • Leaving a light on in the house can also help if firework flashes are disturbing your pet
  • Try to remain calm yourself. If you get very excited, a dog is likely to interpret this as increased threat and will become even more anxious. Use a calm and reassuring voice and move slowly etc.
  • Playing music can help. The Scottish SPCA album Paws.Play.Relax was created to relax and calm dogs. This can be bought through our website.
  • Alternatively, leaving a radio or TV on in the background can help. There are also desensitisation programmes available to help pets get used to loud noises – it is best to talk to your Vet about this.
  • Be considerate. Check your garden for any unsuspecting wildlife and clear away all debris caused by fireworks
  • If you are organising an event that includes a bonfire, thoroughly check the pile for wildlife before setting alight
  • Talk to your Vet about what other help can be given to your pet at a time of peak firework activity. There are various medications both prescription and non-prescription that can help very anxious pets
  • We would always advise that you speak to your Veterinary Practice for advice if your pet is particularly prone to anxiety due to fireworks.

We would encourage the public to attend organised displays only to help limit the number of events taking place across Scotland.

If you see anyone using fireworks with the intent to cause harm, report them immediately to Police Scotland on 101.

To request a poster please contact our fundraising team on 03000 999 999 (option 4) or email

See the results of the Scottish Government public consultation here.

Dog rescued by the Scottish SPCA with new family

Please help

You can help save abused, abandoned and injured animals in Scotland by making a monthly donation to the Scottish SPCA