Guy Fawkes night is coming up on November 5. For most people, this is merely an occasion to look forward to as there will be many exciting firework events about. However, for some, this will be an anxious and nerve-wracking event that pet-owners may dread.
Farm animals – horses and cattle
If you’re planning on letting fireworks off in rural areas, make sure you warn the neighbours first so that they can take precautions with their livestock because large animals create large vet bills!
Imagine 600kg horses galloping blindly around muddy fields in pure terror as fireworks are going off on neighbouring land. Scared horses bump off of the wire fences, slip and slide, pant heavily and drip in sweat. But arguably, it’s even more petrifying for their owners!
- Do not enter the paddock! You will get knocked down and you will get injured. (I learnt this the hard way!)
- Do speak softly to your horses and other farm animals from behind the field’s gate
- Do feed them before nightfall and leave hay out for them
- Don’t go away on holiday, and stay close-by around Guy Fawkes night
- Check the fencing beforehand and graze them in the flattest paddock you have
- If you know a large amount of fireworks will be going off, consider moving your animals elsewhere.
- When scared, horses like to be able to run. So keeping them enclosed isn’t always the safest option.
- If your animals are near firework events, be aware that there are horrible people who like to scare or harm animals with fireworks. So try and supervise your pets as much as you can.
Cat and dogs
Ensure your cats and dogs can come indoors, because when panicked they could run away or find unsafe hiding places. There will also be more traffic on the roads, so make sure they don’t feel the need to go wandering.
- Set up a nest of your cats’ and dogs’ favourite blankets in their favourite place
- Bring them in before nightfall
- Take dogs for an extra walk, and play with cats until they tire
- Feed them before nightfall too – soldiers fight better on a full stomach!
- Leave healthy treats about later on in the evening
- Put the radio or TV on to mask the bangs a bit
- Speak softly, walk slowly and stay relaxed around your pets; they’ll pick up on your energy
If you want to be extra diligent, make your garden a safe haven for scared wildlife such as hedgehogs.
- If you’re planning on having a bonfire, be sure to triple-check there’s nothing hiding, roosting or nesting in there.
- Fence it off
- Create hutches or boxes filled with dry, fresh straw and keep it in a sheltered area for scared animals to hide in
- Do not feed hedgehogs milk or bread! Leave out water and cat food instead. (Although, in my humble experience, this can attract rats…)
Other than that, we hope you, your family and your fur-babies have a pleasant and safe Guy Fawkes night!