Public Health


Fireworks going off in the sky.

Use of Fireworks

In addition to the obvious safety risks involved for us in handling fireworks, fireworks season can be a very stressful time of year for both animals and pet owners who are trying to protect their animals from the fear and distress fireworks can cause. The Scottish SPCA and RSPA have been aware of incidents over the years of animals coming to harm, or even death, as a result of fireworks.

This year has seen changes in the law regarding the use and sale of fireworks as follows:

  • Fireworks can only be used by the general public between 6pm and 11pm except on 5th November when an additional hour until midnight is permitted.
  • Fireworks can also be used between 6pm until 1am on New Year’s Eve, the night of Chinese New Year and the night of Diwali.
  • Fireworks can only be sold/supplied to the general public during the daytime hours of 7am and 6pm. This is alongside existing requirements on retailers around sale and storage licences.
  • The quantity of fireworks that can be sold/supplied to the general public is limited to 5kg at any one time.

These changes may have an effect on reducing incidents involving members of the public and animals. However, the effects of the Covid pandemic may mean there are less public displays this year and greater private use at home.  So this year we are asking members of the public to be especially vigilant and considerate to their neighbours and to any harmful effects on any domestic animals that may be nearby including livestock.

Here are a few pointers to keeping animals safe around fireworks:

  • 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.
  • Horses should be moved to stables where they cannot escape.
  • 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 cat-flaps 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.
  • Be considerate. Check your garden for any unsuspecting wildlife and clear away all debris caused by fireworks.
  • Be aware of unsolicited materials being dumped on your bonfire.
  • Do not burn materials likely to give rise to noxious fumes or black smoke.
  • If you are organising an event that includes a bonfire, thoroughly check the pile for wildlife before setting alight.
  • If there is an organised public event near to you attend that (subject to Covid restrictions).
  • If you see anyone using fireworks with the intent to cause harm, report them immediately to Police Scotland on 101.

Further information is available here: