Every year, as we approach Bonfire Night as a responsible Firework supplier that the impact on small animals should be addressed before the season starts.
There are a series of simple steps we can all take to help smaller animals and pets stay safe and reduce their anxiety. Here are a few suggestions, as suggested by the RSPCA and Blue Cross animal charities:
• Keep cats and dogs inside
• Under no circumstances should you leave your pet tied up outside or take them along to a display – this is cruel and unnecessary
• Don’t leave your pet alone for too long
• Give them more bedding to burrow in – they will feel more secure
• Bring cages/hutches indoors – into a quiet room, shed or garage. If this is not feasible, cover their cages over or turn them into a wall if they face the garden
• Cover any aviaries/hutches with thick blankets or a duvet to block the sound of the fireworks out
• Make sure you walk your dog early doors – bear in mind that from darkness falling, there will be any number of fireworks around so you will reduce your dog’s stress levels
• Close all curtains, doors and close any cat/dog flaps to stop pets escaping to avoid the noise – they may disappear for good
• If your pet is used to having the noise of the TV, radio or music around, put them on to drown out some of the firework sounds
• Prepare a den perhaps under your bed with some old clothes and their favourite toys – it will help to keep them calm
• Let your dog/cat pace, whine, miaow or bark – if you try to comfort them, you may add to their distress
There have also been incidences over the last few years where horses have bolted, and in some cases, received serious injury. Again, you should plan ahead:
• Check if there are any firework events planned nearby
• Let organisers know if you have horses stabled in the immediate area to ensure that they set up as far from the field as possible
• Check what time the fireworks are due to start – this is at least the point you can ensure your equine friends are stabled if that is the direction you plan to go
• Check fencing is secure and there is nothing lying in the paddock which could cause injury
• Decide whether your horse (and only you know how they are likely to react) will need to be in the stable or out in the field
• If you are putting your horse in the stables, put a radio on to drown out some of the noise and leave it as well lit as possible (this helps to disguise the flashes from the pyrotechnics which can also frighten horses/pets)
• Check your insurance is up to date as you may be held liable for damage caused in the event your horse escapes.
Above all, remember that Bonfire Night is meant to be fun and has been part of the culture for over 400 years so let’s try to keep it safe for everyone including all our pets and of course ourselves.