Pro­tect your pets

Te Awamutu Courier - - News -

No­vem­ber 5 is of­ten the scari­est day of the year for pets, who can be­come dis­tressed when they hear fire­works.

“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 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,” says An­drea. “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.

“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 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,” says An­drea.

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 this com­ing Mon­day. 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 dog 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 when fire­works could be set off.

• Don’t for­get small pets like rab­bits, guinea pigs or chick­ens. Tuck them away or in­side for the night.

• For some an­i­mals, fire­works can be a real pho­bia and should be treated with med­i­ca­tion. See your vet for op­tions be­fore fire­works start.

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