How to keep animals safe this bonfire night
- Credit: Archant
Following a damning report which highlighted the stress fireworks can cause to animals, the RSPCA have released important advice for keeping pets safe this firework night.
The charity want the public sale of fireworks to be limited so displays are closer to the key dates of November 5, December 31, Chinese New Year and Diwali.
They are also calling for noise restrictions on the maximum level of decibels fireworks can reach.
RSPCA government relations manager Claire McParland said: "We see the impact of fireworks on animals every year and we know there is strong public feeling about the use of fireworks with more than 100,000 people signing petitions to restrict their use in recent years.
"We are urging the UK Government to act on this strength of feeling - which would support owners to help their animals cope at this time of year."
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Important advice from the RSPCA this bonfire night
Try and go to an organised display
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If you can try and attend an advertised, organised firework event.
Pet owners are more likely to know these are happening so can prepare their animals ahead of time - attending these events also reduces the overall number of fireworks that disturb animals.
If you want to have your own celebration
Please only let fireworks off on traditional celebration dates
Use low noise fireworks
Let your neighbours know well in advance, including those with horses nearby
Never set off fireworks near livestock or horses
Don't let off fireworks if they'll disturb nearby wildlife habitats, or roosting bats or birds
Build any bonfire as close as possible to the time of lighting, to reduce the risk of wildlife making their home inside
Pick up firework debris and litter after it has cooled down
Read more: Should there be a ban on selling fireworks?Keeping pets secure
Give your cat or dog somewhere to hide which they can access at all times - maybe under furniture or in a quiet corner
Walk dogs during daylight hours and keep dogs and cats indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off
At nightfall close windows and curtains - put on calming music such as Classic FM to mask the sound of fireworks
Make sure your pet can't escape if there's a sudden noise, and remember to make sure your pets are microchipped and keep your microchip details up to date
Never punish your pets when they are scared as this will only make things worse in the long run
It's fine to comfort your pet if it helps them relax, or leave them alone unless you think they will harm themselves
Close any windows and black out a 'doggy play area' so that your dog can't see the flashing lights
Ignore any fireworks yourself. Play with a toy to see if your dog wants to join in but don't force them
Before the fireworks begin move your dog to the doggy play area with all their favourite toys
Ask your vet for advice about pheromone diffusers and possible referral to a clinical animal behaviourist for help - they can give you advice on how to help your dog become less afraid of loud noises in the long-term
Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide if they want to. For example under some furniture, in a cardboard box or in a quiet corner. Don't try to tempt your cat out as this will cause them to become more stressed.
If your pets live outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound proofed. Make sure that your pets are still able to look out. Provide lots of extra bedding so your pets have something to burrow in.
Horses ponies and donkeys
Check for any firework displays planned locally and, where possible, ask organisers to site fireworks well away from your horse - aimed in the opposite direction
Keep your horse in a familiar environment, following their normal routine with their usual companions. If your horse is staying in their field, check the fencing is secure and there are no dangerous objects they could collide with if startled.
If stabled, make sure hay nets are secure so your horse can't get caught up.
You should stay with your horse if you know fireworks are going to be set off, but do be aware of your own safety - a startled horse can be dangerous
Hedgehog Friendly Vet Practises Suffolk have produced a poster explaining how to prevent hedgehogs being hurt by bonfires and what do if you find an injured hedgehog. There is more information on their Facebook page. Read more: Shock as baby hedgehogs kicked to death in 'heartless' attack