Updated: Oct 30
Even though most humans might love the bright, colorful, and noisy displays that come with fireworks in New Zealand, for countless animals, Guy Fawkes is terrifying and there is high chance of accidents and injuries.
Luckily, most people in New Zealand only use fireworks on Guy Fawkes (and New Year’s) so the predictability of the days means that you have time to prepare and keep your family pets safe.
Make sure your pets’ collars and microchips are up to date and functional.
In the event that they run away, you want to ensure that you can track your pets down.
Exercise your pets before the evening - a tired animal is more likely to be relaxed when fireworks display starts and less likely to get anxious and antsy! So, take your dog for a walk early in the day and have some extra playtime for your cats.
Keep your pets inside - it will ease their stress to be in familiar surroundings and they are less likely to make a run for it! Close all doors and windows and block off cat flaps to keep noise down and to stop your pets from exploring.
Try to stay home with your pets - if someone they trust is home with them to comfort them, your pets will be a lot less stressed. Create a safe space for your pets, a comfortable area to hide with blankets etc and enough food and water to last the night so your pets have a safe space to retreat to if they get too scared.
Soundproof your house as much as possible - simply closing the curtains and leaving the TV or entertainment system on can minimize the worst of the displays. Have some treats on hand - if the displays are stressing your pets out a lot, having some distractions like chew toys or catnip could help keep your pet distracted.
Talk to your vet - if you know that your pet gets extremely stressed out by loud noises, visit your vet to explore any other options you could look at. In some cases, mild sedatives may be prescribed to survive big nights.
If you own horses and other livestock most of these preventative measures are similar, but additionally, it’s important to make sure that someone experienced stays with the horse when fireworks go off to observe their behavior and ensure they remain safe and calm. It will also provide the ability to respond appropriately if your horses freak out. Horses can sense unease in people, so trying to stay calm and positive is a good way to calm down a startled horse.
Although Guy Fawkes can be a stressful time for worried pet owners, there are some ways you can make the process slightly easier for both you and your pets. If you have survived many Guy Fawkes with your furry friend, share some of your top tips with us!