Remember, remember the fifth of November- it’s Guy Fawkes and time to take extra care of your furry companions.
While most humans enjoy the fireworks festivities, many pets unfortunately become highly distressed by fireworks, says SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen. The SPCA receives dozens of calls at this time of year relating to fireworks issues including; animal injuries, frightened animals, missing pets and occasionally, abuse of animals.
“The loud noises and bright flashes of light can be very frightening to animals and many animals become highly stressed by them,” Ms Midgen says.
“This can sadly lead to animals running away and going missing, injuring themselves or becoming susceptible to traffic accidents. We urge pet owners to keep their pets inside and safe on Guy Fawkes night.”
Planning ahead for Guy Fawkes is key, Ms Midgen says: “Be aware of Guy Fawkes Night and create a strategy for your animals. Making sure your pet has company, is kept inside and has proper identification are just a few easy ways that you can ensure the safety and happiness of your pet.”
While the SPCA does not support the private sale and use of fireworks and has long called for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public, those planning to set off fireworks in their homes should consider speaking to their neighbours, or leaving a note in their letterbox, so that those with pets can prepare accordingly.
“We ask people without pets to be aware of the stress their use of fireworks can cause others in their neighbourhood and act considerately,” Ms Midgen says. She also encourages people to attend controlled public fireworks displays rather than using fireworks at home.
Unfortunately the public sale of fireworks ensures that there is no 'set' day for fireworks to be used and therefore pet owners must remain vigilant at all times.
SPCA’s Top Tips for Animals and Guy Fawkes:
- Never let fireworks off close to animals.
- Stay home with your pet – they will be less stressed with someone they trust close by.
- Keep them indoors – they won’t see the flashes and the bangs will be muffled. Close doors and windows and draw the curtains. Turn up the volume on your radio or TV to help drown out loud bangs with familiar sounds.
- Make sure that your cat or dog has somewhere comforting to hide such as an igloo, box, crate or somewhere they feel safe to retreat to.
- Both cats and dogs should be microchipped and have a collar and identification tag with your contact details on it. If your pet panics and runs away, it will help rescuers reunite you.
- Comfort your pet – This could mean cuddling them if it helps or giving them space, depending on what your pet needs. Try to behave in a calm and reassuring manner. Take special care of elderly or nervous pets.
- Move horses and farm animals away from fireworks – and make sure all fences are secure. Stable horses where possible.
- Never punish your pets when they are scared. This will only make their fear and stress levels worse.
- Try a compression wrap for dogs, like a thunder shirt.
- Exercise your dog early in the day to avoid being out in the dusk when fireworks could be set off.
- Don’t forget small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs or chickens. Have them tucked away or even inside for the night.
- Keep in mind that for some animals, fireworks can be a real phobia and should be treated with medication. Speak with your vet for options before the fireworks start.