How to keep pets and animals safe this firework season
The RSPCA has issued guidance on how to keep pets, wildlife and livestock safe during the upcoming fireworks season.
With the end of October fast approaching, celebrations featuring fireworks will take place across Wales over the coming weeks and months.
Polling suggests that 72 percent of people in Wales recognise that fireworks can negatively impact on animal welfare
It is estimated that 62 percent of dogs show signs of fear when they hear fireworks, while 54 percent of cats and 55 percent of horses also experience distress.
The animal charity receives an average of 400 calls a year regarding the impact of fireworks on animals.
The RSPCA’s Bang Out of Order campaign is offering evidence-based animal welfare advice to the public.
The RSPCA has issued the following guidance:
- Going to an organised event will reduce the number of fireworks disturbing animals.
- Only let fireworks off on or around traditional celebration dates (Diwali, Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year). Most owners will already know to expect fireworks on these dates and should have prepared accordingly to help their animals cope. Look for low-noise fireworks, and let your neighbours know well in advance so animals including horses and livestock, can be prepared.
- Never set off fireworks near livestock, as frightened animals – especially horses – can injure themselves when frightened.
- Remember, fireworks can also disturb wildlife so steer clear of known habitats like lakes with waterfowl and trees with roosting birds.
- Check bonfires for wildlife before lighting as animals like hedgehogs may be hibernating.
How to calm dogs during fireworks:
- Walk your dog during daylight hours to avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off.
- Move your dog to the safe haven each evening before the fireworks begin. Provide toys and other things that they enjoy in the safe haven.
- Make sure there are things for you to do too, so your dog isn’t left alone.
- Close windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks. Blackout your doggy safe haven, so they can’t see any flashes outside.
- Put on some music or TV to mask the firework sounds.
- Ignore the firework noises yourself. Play with a toy to see if your dog wants to join in, but don’t force them to play.
How to help cats who are afraid of fireworks:
- Provide hiding places in your home .e.g. under furniture or a quiet corner.
- Don’t stress your cat by trying to tempt them out. Leave them until they’re ready.
- Keeping them in to avoid them becoming stressed.
- Microchip your cats in case they’re startled and escape outside.
How to help small animals during fireworks:
- Partly cover outside cages and pens with blankets so it’s soundproofed and hidden, leaving an area for animals to look out.
- Provide bedding for small animals to burrow in.
- Consider bringing them indoors – this will need to be done gradually, so plan ahead.
Keeping horses safe during fireworks:
- Know in advance – check to see if there are going to be any firework displays in your area.
- Talk to the organisers – where possible, explain there are horses nearby and ask them to set off their fireworks in the opposite direction.
- Get advice from the British Horse Society (BHS) – for top tips on keeping your horse safe and secure during the firework season.
To find out more visit: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/fireworks
MSs are backing the RSPCA’s calls for people to take a “considerate approach” when celebrating this autumn and winter.
Welsh Conservative MS Janet Finch-Saunders: “There will be great opportunities to have fun this firework season, but we must not forget that they can be frightening for animals, and some people.
“We are a caring community, so I urge everyone to do what they can to ensure that we celebrate in a considerate way.
“The RSPCA have issued excellent guidance which we should all take heed of. There are some really simple measures, such as calming pets during firework nights with classical music.
“In fact, you may wish to play music by Sir Edward Elgar, who composed some of his work in Betws y Coed!”
Llyr Gruffydd MS, who represents north Wales in the Senedd, has also spoken of the need to “keep animals safe and ensure their wellbeing” ahead of Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali and New Years’ celebrations.
Mr Gruffydd said: “With the end of October fast approaching, we will see celebrations featuring fireworks taking place across Wales over the coming weeks and months.
“Celebrations such as Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali and New Years’ are important opportunities for fun, enjoyment and to come together with family, friends and our local communities.
“While of course, many of us will be looking forward to these events, we should also remember that fireworks can be very frightening for many animals, such as pets, wildlife, horses and livestock, as well as some people.”
“Wales is a nation of animal lovers. I would like to see an approach that makes sure we keep animals safe and ensure their wellbeing.”
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