NEW Year's Eve may be a blast for humans keen to have fun and celebrate but for pets it can be a nightmare.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is offering pet owners tips to help keep their furry friends safe and distress-free during the upcoming celebration.

New Year celebrations often incorporates loud music, fireworks and unfamiliar people visiting the home.

It can be an unsettling and even distressing time for pets.

Dogs and cats are particularly sensitive to noise and at 150 decibels, fireworks can be very frightening for them.

The RSPCA recently estimated that 45 per cent of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.

Pets in cages and tanks, such as hamsters, ferrets, fish and birds, are also vulnerable to the noise of loud gatherings and music in the home.

Passive smoking can also have a serious impact on pet health.

Signs of distress can differ from animal to animal. While some pets show obvious signs such as panting, drooling and attempts to escape, there are also more subtle signs that owners should be aware of, including restlessness and toileting in the house. Cats often hide while rabbits may keep very still and thump the ground with their back feet.

BVA Junior Vice President and small animal vet Daniella Dos Santos said:

“Fireworks phobia in pets is an issue that vets often see around New Year’s Eve.

"There are various things that owners can do to help their pets, including providing your pet with a cosy, dark den to help them feel safe, closing the curtains and turning the lights off. Having the radio or television on low in the background can also help. If you are having a party, remember to move any small pets in cages or tanks to a quiet area of the house.”

To help keep your pets safe and fear-free, the BVA offers the following top five tips:

1.Start creating a well-padded den for your pet to access ahead of NYE so they have a safe place to hide when fireworks or loud music start. Pheromone products, prescribed by your vet, can also be used next to your pets’ den and around the house to help calm them.

2.Close windows and curtains and provide background noise such as calm music to help mask the fireworks.

3.If you are thinking of throwing a party, move small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs to a quiet place indoors.

4.If your pet is distressed, remain calm yourself – trying to reassure your pet can inadvertently reinforce the coping strategy of seeking attention, and restlessness or toileting in the house can be signs of stress, so don’t punish them.

5.If your pet gets severely distressed by fireworks or other noises, contact your local vet to discuss treatment options.