Prepare pets for Guy Fawkes
NZVA Media Release
1 November 2013
Prepare pets for Guy Fawkes
Prepare your dog psychologically and physically for fireworks during this year’s Guy Fawkes celebrations, advises the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA).
“The 5th of November every year sees veterinary clinics treating injured and traumatised pets, particularly dogs, because of fireworks displays,” says Dr Cath Watson, President of NZVA’s Companion Animal Society. “The NZVA advises the public that even well-managed fireworks displays at home or nearby can result in anxiety and distress for pets. The terror they cause animals might be indirect, but it can be very distressing and lead to pets attempting to escape and potentially putting themselves in harm’s way.”
Preparedness is key, says Dr Watson, for the days leading up to and following Guy Fawkes (Tuesday 5th November).
“As a first step, phone your city council or visit its website and find out where planned fireworks displays will occur,” says Dr Watson. “Also ensure your pet’s microchip information is up to date, because if an animal runs away during fireworks, the chances of them being returned to you increase substantially if they have a registered microchip.”
Pets can be assisted in dealing with the stress associated with fireworks. Veterinarians, veterinary nurses and qualified animal behaviour experts can provide excellent advice and tools to help pets (especially those that have previously exhibited fear-related behaviour) cope with the sights and sounds of Guy Fawkes celebrations. It is important to seek advice before the fireworks season begins to give your pet time to acclimatise.
Ensure all pets are brought inside before fireworks begin on the nights leading up to and following the 5th of November. “Close curtains to dampen noise and prevent flashes of light from affecting your pet,” says Dr Watson. “Use familiar sounds – such as the TV – to further drown out the sound of fireworks.”
Also ensure there’s nothing sharp or breakable in the room in the event that your pet becomes frantic and jumps about, adds Dr Watson. “Put familiar bedding down under a table or behind a chair, with access to food and water, so your pet feels they have somewhere safe to hide,” she explains, “And let them stay there until they feel comfortable enough to come out. Covering them with a heavy blanket can also reduce their fear."
If you think your house will be subject to loud fireworks displays, or you can’t be home with them on Guy Fawkes night, take your pet to a friend or relative’s house that is less likely to be affected, says Dr Watson. “If your pet is unfamiliar with that place, take them over a few times during the days before Guy Fawkes to make them feel comfortable.”
this isn’t an option, consider boarding your dog in a
kennel for the night.
When you’re sure fireworks are over, reassure and comfort your pet and help them settle.
NZVA’s key tips to prevent pet panic:
Find out where and when
fireworks will take place near
Contact a veterinary clinic for coping advice if your pet has previously exhibited fear-related behaviour
Drown out light and noise by closing curtains and utilising familiar sounds
Remove anything that could break or injure your pet
Provide safe coverings for your pet to hide if they wish
Take your pet to an alternative location for the night if necessary
Comfort your pet once fireworks are over