RSPCA Victoria is urging pet owners to keep their pets safe this New Year’s Eve.
Fireworks and loud music can cause severe distress in animals, resulting in anxious behaviours and possible escapes from home if they feel threatened.
RSPCA Victoria recommends pet owners prepare for the festive season by confirming their pets are microchipped and their contact details are up to date to ensure a quick reunion if they escape.
Animal Welfare Manager at RSCPA Victoria, Nadia Peiris, said keeping microchip details updated was essential.
“Any animal arriving at an animal shelter or pound is almost immediately checked for a microchip to see if they are registered with their owner,” Ms Peiris said.
“It’s much easier for us to reunite you with your pet if they are microchipped and the registered information is up to date, including your current address and phone number.
“Your pet is much safer at home than on the streets, so if your dog or cat is an escape artist, we recommend you double-check any gates, fences and doors for any areas a panicked animal could use to escape.
“Do not use devices like pronged or slip collars or restraints like choker chains, as they will only hurt the animal while they are panicking and can potentially cause serious injury.
“If possible, consider bringing any outdoor pets inside, or make sure they have a cosy shelter or quiet space to retreat where they feel safe.”
RSPCA Victoria’s Dr Gabrielle Carter provided tips to help make pets more comfortable at home.
“Providing your pet with an activity to keep their mind busy can help distract them if they get anxious during fireworks or loud music,” Dr Carter said.
“Items such as treat balls, snuffle mats, raw bones, and other long-lasting treats can help calm or distract an anxious pet along with giving them access to a safe space, like a crate with a blanket draped over it or a quiet room, which will help them feel calm and safe.
“Taking your dog for a long walk or run during the afternoon can burn off any excess energy and help them rest in the evening and feel a little calmer when it starts getting noisy.”
RSPCA Victoria is deeply grateful for the Victorian community’s support throughout 2023 and looks forward to continuing its mission to prevent cruelty to all animals in 2024.