The fireworks season can be a difficult time for pets and livestock, and their owners. Many animals have more acute hearing than humans, and of course there is no way to explain to them the reason for the sudden loud bangs. However, there are some steps that animal owners can take to minimise the impact of the noise and disruption.
How to help dogs cope with fireworks
Around half of all dogs find loud bangs and whistles distressing. Their ears are very sensitive, and some breeds of dog may even experience physical pain in their ears from the noise. Therefore, it is important to keep them indoors in the quietest room in the house on bonfire night.
Walk them during the daytime, before any firework displays begin, and plan to spend the evening at home with your dog. In the event that your dog does take fright and run off, it is strongly recommended that they should wear a collar with your phone number/address and name on. All dogs are required by law to be microchipped to help trace them.
At home, close all windows and doors, and blackout the windows to muffle the noise and flashes of the fireworks. Encourage your dog to play if they want to, and remain calm yourself. Turn on the TV or play some music to help muffle the noise. Some pet owners may find pheromone diffusers, which have a calming effect, are helpful to help them relax.
If your dog becomes distressed and hides under furniture, leave them be, and avoid becoming angry with them, however they react.
How to help cats on bonfire night
Cats often also become upset and frightened by loud noises. Keep your cat indoors on bonfire night, block off the cat flap, and make sure that all windows and doors are closed. It is not a legal requirement that cats are microchipped, but it is strongly recommended, to help them be reunited with you should they run off and become lost.
Cats like to seek out safe corners, such as under the bed or behind the sofa when they are frightened. It might be tempting to coax them out so you can try and reassure them they are safe, but the best policy is to leave them be until they feel ready to emerge.
How to keep horses and ponies safe on fireworks night
Fireworks can be very dangerous for equines, possibly causing them to bolt and injure themselves. Stray fireworks can also be a hazard in stable yards where there is a lot of flammable material such as hay and straw around. Keep the yard tidy and carry out a fire risk assessment in advance of the bonfire season.
Check well in advance if there are going to be any firework displays near your horses’ field or yard. This will give you time to alert the organisers or find a safe place for your animals on the night. It is important to remain calm yourself, and keep as far as possible to your horses’ usual routine.
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