Keep your pets happy and safe this Guy Fawkes

The day that is often the scariest for your pets, who become distressed when they hear fireworks is coming up on Monday November 5.

While most humans will enjoy the celebrations around Guy Fawkes, many pets unfortunately are traumatised by fireworks, says SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen.

Each year SPCA receives dozens of calls relating to fireworks issues including: animal injuries, frightened animals, missing pets, and occasionally, abuse of animals.

“Many animals have acute hearing so loud bangs can really scare them.  Fireworks can be terrifying to pets who become highly stressed by them,” Midgen says.

“Unfortunately, Guy Fawkes can 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.”

Pets can be kept safe and happy with a bit of forward planning Midgen says.

“Having a strategy for your animals during the Guy Fawkes period will help them tremendously.  Making sure your pet has company, is kept inside, and has proper identification are just a few easy ways to ensure the safety and happiness of your pet.”

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.

SPCA advises those planning to set off fireworks in their backyards to speak to their neighbours, or leave a note in their letterbox, so that those in the neighbourhood with pets can prepare accordingly.

“Even if people don’t have pets, we ask them to think of their neighbours who might have pets and act considerately,” Midgen says.

She also encourages people to attend local public fireworks displays rather than using fireworks at home.

Because fireworks are on sale to the public, this means that there is no ‘set’ day for fireworks to be used and therefore pet owners must remain vigilant and particularly watchful over their pets during this period, not just on Monday November 5.

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.