It’s that time of the year again, and Guy Fawkes is upon us. Humans enjoy the fireworks and general merriment, but for animals it can be a very stressful experience.
The loud bangs and flashes can be extremely frightening, and may cause panic attacks and other erratic behaviours among our furry friends.
The NSPCA stresses that fireworks should only be set off in designated areas, and with proper permission – but you can’t always control what’s happening in your neighbourhood on Guy Fawkes.
However, you can certainly make things more bearable for your pets, by providing a safe haven for them during this stressful time.
NSPCA spokesperson Christine Kuch told Health24 that animal owners have the responsibility to ensure that their pets aren’t exposed to the negative effects of Guy Fawkes celebrations. “Users of fireworks may not be aware of the vibrations caused by the explosions. It’s not only the noise that is stressful,” she says.
Earlier today, Dr Blessing Chiriseri, a volunteer veterinarian at the International Fund for Animal Welfare appeared on the Expresso show, and gave his insights into the issues for pets over Guy Fawkes.
Read: More relaxed pets
According to Dr Chiriseri, tell-tale signs indicating that your pet is in distress may include:
- The fact that they retreat. They move away from the sound into tight spaces and corners.
- If their stress levels are high, they may showcase various other unusual behaviours, like urinating inside when they usually do so outside.
For those who are going to be taking part in the celebrations, Dr Chiriseri recommends a number of tips to muffle the sound and impact of fireworks for the benefit of our pets:
- Do not take your dog(s) along to firework displays.
- Inside the house, ensure that window shutters are down so that pets can’t see outside
- Make sure your pets have a spot to hide if they are scared by the sound of fireworks going off. It will make them feel safer and more comfortable.
- Owners should not show their dogs if they also feel stressed. They will pick up on our stress and feel even more scared and insecure. It’s important to act normally during that time and create the impression that everything’s fine.
If you notice any animals in distress because of fireworks, call the following numbers:
Animal Anti Cruelty League - 011 435 0672
South African Police Service – 10111
National council of SPCA’s - 011 907 3590