The Department of Primary Industries and RSPCA NSW have advised pet owners to secure their animals on New Year’s Eve ahead of fireworks displays.
DPI acting director animal biosecurity Juliet Corish said the New Year period always had a spike in the number of animals that went missing.
‘‘Fireworks, with the combination of bright lights and very loud noises, can be distressing for our animals and can cause them to become anxious and even take flight,’’ she said.
‘‘In particular, dogs and horses can be easily scared by fireworks.’’
Simple measures like ensuring backyard enclosures are secure can help.
“Direct supervision of distressed animals is the best option for ensuring the safety of pets and if possible, owners should take their dogs indoors and reassure them by remaining calm and acting normally,’’ she said.
“If owners are particularly concerned for the safety of their animals during fireworks displays, they should speak to their local vet about possible treatment options.”
Ms Corish said it was also important that dogs were micro-chipped and wearing an identification tag in case they fled from the noise.
RSPCA NSW said pets should be exercised and fed before fireworks started, and advised owners to keep them indoors and to leave on the radio or television to mask the sound of fireworks. The Unanderra RSPCA animal shelter will be open on January 1 and 2 from 9am to 2pm to accept stray animals and re-unite owners with their pets.