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October 15th 2015

Top Firework Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Concern for the welfare of your pets is natural, but it shouldn’t stop you enjoying celebratory events involving fireworks. By following these simple pieces of advice, you can ensure that you do your utmost to make the experience as comfortable for them as you’re able to.  

General Tips

-          Fireworks can be a source of fear to many animals. It’s important to understand their needs and cater to them as much as you’re able to.

-          The Blue Cross charity advises that pet owners should seek veterinary advice up to 12 weeks prior to notable dates of celebration involving fireworks.

-          They also suggest that behavioural advice to help your pet deal with fireworks should be sought out up to 6 months prior to the event in question.

-          Your vet can also discuss treatment methods such as pheromone diffusers with you. These emit calming chemicals and can be combined with behavioural therapy.

-          New Year’s Eve and 5th November are of course the key dates for fireworks in the UK, so plan around these accordingly with regards to the welfare of your pets.

-          If you’ve released any fireworks in your garden, make sure to do a sweep of it afterwards to make sure it’s safe for your pets.

Cats and Dogs

-          It’s essential to keep your pets in a secure environment, so that they can’t escape if they’re startled by a sudden noise.

-          According to the RSPCA, if your pet is scared you shouldn’t punish or fuss over it. Either could worsen the problem.

-          Although it may seem like the best thing to do, don’t cuddle or comfort distressed cats and dogs, as this may compound any worries that they are feeling.

-          Don’t stop your dog or cat whining or miaowing respectively if they start.

-          It’s important to give your cat or dog somewhere to hide. If that place is under some furniture for example, make sure that they are able to get to the space at all times.

-          It’s always worth having your pet microchipped in case they escape during occasions involving fireworks.

-          Putting the TV or some music on can be a great way to mask the noise of fireworks. You should also close any curtains and windows.

-          Don’t display anger towards your dog or cat if you’ve chosen to leave the house and they’ve made a mess – they will have been frightened and getting cross with them can make things worse.

Just Cats

-          Don’t try and coax your cat out of any safe space as this is likely to make them more distressed.

-          Close cat-flaps so that they can’t exit the house if they become distressed.

Just Dogs

-          Make sure that you walk dogs during daylight hours, so that they can be kept in during the course of any fireworks.

-          You should always avoid taking your dog to a fireworks display.

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-          Where possible, you should bring outdoor enclosures such as hutches and cages indoors into a quiet room. If you can’t put them in your house, a garage or shed is the next best thing.

-          Providing extra bedding for your pet to hide within can help it to feel more safe and secure.

-          Hutches or aviaries should be covered with blankets or a duvet to dull the sound of bangs and block out the flashes of any fireworks. Be careful to leave space for ventilation.

-          As a last resort, if you can’t bring any enclosures inside, it’s essential that you turn them to face a wall rather than an open garden space.

Horses and Ponies

-          Fireworks must not be let off near horses or livestock. Neighbouring farmers should be warned in advance by those planning displays in rural areas.

-          You can minimise the distress caused to any horses you own by keeping them in their familiar environment. It’s also important to keep them with their companions and in their normal routine.

-          Someone with experience should stay with your horse if you know that there are fireworks scheduled in the area.

-          You should speak to your vet or consider moving your horse temporarily if you know that they’re particularly sensitive to loud noises.

-          Staying calm can help transmit similar feelings to your horses and/or ponies.

-          Avoid riding around the time of firework displays.

-          You should leave clear instructions for anyone that cares for your horse in your absence.