Fireworks are a sight to behold, but can we hold the whooshes and bangs?
Silent fireworks offer a fantastic alternative that skips the trauma for dogs, humans and wildlife.
It’s not just dogs who can find fireworks hard to handle, it can cause PTSD for people who have been in war zones, it’s traumatic for many autistic people and people with sensory issues too.
But there is a way for people to show their compassion and support for others, while still enjoying the joy of fireworks. Silent fireworks offer all the beautiful colours and sparks of traditional fireworks, without the big bangs.
What is it about fireworks that cause stress?
For humans and animals alike, the unpredictability of fireworks can be the worst aspect. In the UK, fireworks tend to go off at random intervals for weeks rather than just one day, which means the sudden bangs can go on for quite a while.
The scents of gunpowder can also be an unnerving trigger for dogs and other animals. And the flashes in the sky can cause anxiety too.
Silent fireworks only solve the sound issue, but they at least reduce the sensory overload that dogs, wildlife and humans have to contend with during fireworks season.
Are silent fireworks actually silent?
They aren’t completely silent, but they are significantly quieter than traditional fireworks. It would be more accurate to describe them as low noise fireworks.
Silent fireworks are a solid move in the right direction, creating a way for people to enjoy firework displays with consideration for the wider community.
A change in attitudes towards fireworks
People have been campaigning for years to make changes to the availability of fireworks to the general public. This year, it seems to have taken hold somewhat.
Perhaps because of all the new pet owners who have welcomed companions into their homes during the pandemic, or maybe the years of campaigning are finally paying off?
Either way, there is a definite shift. This year Centerparcs declared they would be cancelling their usual displays, and ASDA and Aldi are both selling silent fireworks in store.
Sainsburys led the way and actually stopped selling fireworks back in 2019.
Silent fireworks displays
Personally, I’d love to see organised displays as the only access to fireworks. This would introduce more predictability for those who suffer with the noises and bangs. We would know when local displays are due to take place and we could plan accordingly.
Organised displays are also safer than private fireworks. At the moment, there don’t appear to be any organised silent fireworks displays, but with the general shift in public attitude, hopefully, this will change in future years.
According to figures from NHS Digital, there were almost 2,000 instances of fireworks related injuries needing A&E attention in 2018/19.
And over the bonfire night and Diwali period of the same year, more than 35,000 people sought advice from the NHS.uk website on how to treat burns and scalds.
Licensed fireworks displays are professionally managed, with the relevant safety support and precautions put in place. They reduce the strain on the NHS from accidental fireworks related injuries, they make avoiding the stress associated for pets and people easier, and they can raise much needed funds for local authorities when they are the only option.
When can you expect fireworks?
It’s not just on the 5th of November that we’re likely to hear fireworks. In the lead up to Bonfire Night and sometimes for weeks after, we can still hear the booms and whooshes of fireworks well into the night.
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is often around the same period as Bonfire Night, and is another event that’s celebrated with fireworks.
Chinese New Year, New Year, Ramadan, and many other special occasions are also events where people often choose fireworks to mark the celebrations.
How can you help your dog cope with fireworks?
The fact remains that there will likely be fireworks going off at various times of the year, and your dog may struggle with that.
There are some things you can try which may reduce the amount of stress and anxiety your dog experiences.
Have a look at this blog to help you prepare. And remember, try to continue this training throughout the year, as fireworks aren’t just for Bonfire Night.