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Animal Safety ahead of Bonfire Night

Written by on 1st November 2017

RSPCA Cymru has re-iterated advice around keeping animals safe during fireworks, as Bonfire Night draws closer.

Many animals – of all shapes and sizes – find fireworks frightening, and estimates suggest 45 per cent of the UK’s dogs show signs of fear and distress by the loud noises fireworks emit.

The reminder follows previous advice issued by the RSPCA, around fireworks during the Diwali celebrations, and the release of sky lanterns at Halloween.

In 2016, the animal welfare charity received 27 calls relating to fireworks in Wales during October and November and is likely to receive calls again this Bonfire Night.

RSPCA has published some simple guidelines and a video on how to help pets feel safe at this time of year. The charity continues to highlight how planning ahead can pay dividends, with the public urged to:

  • Make sure dogs and cats have somewhere to hide – perhaps under some furniture or in a cupboard – and can get to it at any time

  • Ensure pets are kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape

  • Make sure pets are microchipped in case they do escape

  • During fireworks season, walk dogs during daylight and keep pets indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off

  • At nightfall, close windows and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks

RSPCA animal behaviour expert Dr Samantha Gaines said:  

“Firework phobia in pets is a treatable condition and we recommend seeking advice from your vet so that you can plan ahead and help your pet cope around firework season.

“For example, if your dog is frightened of fireworks your vet may suggest referral to a clinical animal behaviourist to teach him or her to deal with the sounds; or the use of diffusers which disperse calming chemicals into the room.

“It is also a good idea to provide your dog with a safe haven. It is best to get your dog used to this before the season starts. Choose somewhere quiet and help them learn that being there is positive and that no harm will come to them. You can do this by giving them toys or a variety of chew toys.

“Small animals that live outside should have lots of extra bedding so they can burrow and some of their enclosure could be covered by a blanket for extra insulation and sound-proofing.”

Unfortunately, it is not just pets that are affected by fireworks. Farm animals can be easily frightened by loud noises and sudden flashes of bright light, which can startle them and cause them to injure themselves on fencing, farm equipment or, in the case of housed animals, on fixtures and fittings.

It is also likely that fireworks will cause a disturbance to wild animals such as waterfowl and is likely to cause suffering or distress, depending on the distance from the fireworks and the noise level. Wildlife can also be burnt alive after making their home in bonfires, so always check for animals beforehand