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Companion animal safety during Guy Fawkes celebrations

With Guy Fawkes less than a week away, the New Zealand Companion Animal Council (NZCAC) urges everyone to consider the safety and well-being of animals.

Each year during Guy Fawkes season, animal shelters and council pounds receive hundreds of calls and are inundated with lost, frightened and injured animals.

The loud noises and bright flashes of light can be extremely distressing for animals and a common response is to attempt to escape and run away. Guys Fawkes can also be a distressing time for animal owners and the NZCAC wishes to remind people to be considerate of those in their neighbourhood who share their homes with companion animals.

“It is common to see an increase in missing and lost animals during the fireworks season, so it is important that owners ensure their companion animals are microchipped with contact details up to date on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register” says NZCAC Acting Manager, Bianka Atlas.

Ms Atlas says there are various ways companion animal owners can minimise the risk of harm and keep their animals safe and comfortable during Guy Fawkes.

“Plan ahead – create a safe place inside your home where your animals can retreat if they become frightened. A crate in a room with the curtains closed and some background noise such a TV or radio can work well for dogs.

“If possible, stay at home with your animals and provide calm reassurance. If that is not possible, arrange for someone else that your animal knows to stay with them in your absence.”

“Walk your dog during daylight hours to avoid being out at dusk when fireworks are more likely to be set off.”
“Move horses or stock to a safe and secure paddock or stable.”

“If your animal has a real phobia of loud noises, talk to your veterinarian in advance as they will be able to recommend some options to help you manage your animal’s anxiety.”

NZCAC’s tips for keeping your animals safe this Guy Fawkes:
• Ensure your animals are microchipped and your details are up to date on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register.
• Ensure your animals are wearing a collar with appropriate identification tags.
• If possible, stay at home when fireworks are going off as animals may feel more anxious and afraid if left alone.
• If you can’t be at home with your animals, try to arrange someone to come over and keep them company.
• If your animals must be home alone, organise a safe, dark, quiet place inside your home. A dog crate with a towel or blanket placed over the top (ensure there is still adequate ventilation) is an ideal spot for dogs.
• It may be helpful to turn on the TV or radio to muffle the sound of the fireworks.
• Make sure all doors, windows and gates are closed to prevent animals escaping.
• Take your dog for a long walk during the day to get rid of excess energy.
• Avoid walking your dog after dusk, when fireworks are more likely to be set off.
• Provide your dogs with a fun way to take their mind off what’s going on outside – a long lasting chew toy such as a Kong can keep dogs busy for hours.
• If you have horses or stock, move them to a safe and secure paddock or stable and check on them regularly.
• If you have fireworks stored inside your house, ensure they are kept out of reach of animals as they contain substances which can be harmful if ingested.

About the New Zealand Companion Animal Council
The NZCAC is a national not-for-profit organisation, which lobbies and advocates on behalf of companion animals. The NZCAC works to encourage New Zealand to become a nation that values, respects and responsibly cares for companion animals.
The NZCAC is funded via profits raised from the New Zealand Companion Animal Register.
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NZCAC
Visit our website: www.nzcac.org.nz

ends

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