West of England animal charities and well-known animal lover Mayor Dan Norris are joining forces to call on all residents to be mindful of the needs of animals as Bonfire Night approaches.
The Mayor has teamed up with Bath Cats and Dogs Home, and Bristol Animal Rescue Centre (Bristol ARC), to call on all West of England residents to use fireworks “considerately” this year.
Polling suggests 71% of people recognise that fireworks can negatively impact on animal welfare. According to Dogs Trust, almost half of dog owners say their dogs’ wellbeing is affected by fireworks, while they can also cause big problems for farmers.
However, 69% of UK adults do take measures to help relax or prepare pets, horses and livestock for firework season and Mayor Norris is encouraging even more people to act responsibly this year by doing things like creating a calming space for your pet, like a den, or using calming pet products like treats, supplements and diffusers.
Mayor Dan Norris said: “There will be great opportunities to have fun this firework season in the West of England, but we must not forget that they can be frightening for many animals, such as pets, wildlife, horses and livestock. The loud bangs, and bright flashes of light can cause real anxiety, including for Angel - my own cocker spaniel.
“In the run up to Bonfire Night, I’m proud to join with Bath Cats and Dogs Home, and Bristol ARC, to encourage everyone to please use fireworks considerately. And for those pet owners looking for top tops, I’d encourage them to do things like stick on Pet Classics on Classic FM for some calm, relaxing music and maybe stay in for a nice chilled-out evening.
“The West of England is a region of animal lovers. So let’s make sure we keep them safe this Firework Season, and beyond.”
Julie Stone, Head of Animal Operations at Bath Cats and Dogs Home said: “On Bonfire Night it is important to make your pets feel as safe as possible and give them somewhere to retreat to if they feel nervous or anxious. Making a den or safe space with a familiar scent, such as a piece of your clothing, can help. Remember to walk dogs early before it gets dark and go with animals if they need to go out in the garden.
"We recommend keeping to your normal routine, closing the curtains, creating a calm environment, and making as little fuss as possible. On top of Bonfire Night, the clock change at this time of year can make it an unsettled few weeks for dogs and cats so toilet training or feeding routines can be disrupted, so be patient and help your best friend work through the changes."
Other top tips include making sure that small animals in hutches are comfortable and have somewhere to hide from the unsettling noise and smell of fireworks, plus always talking to your vet for advice if you have concerns about a sensitive pet.
Bristol ARC's Animal Home Manager Jodie Hayward added: "Each animal’s response to fireworks is different, but some pets might tremble, shut down, or freeze. Some might panic, causing physical injury to themselves or others around them, or damage furniture. "They may try to escape or run away. It can be distressing for pet owners to see, especially if you’re unprepared.”
She pointed towards Bristol ARC’s top ten tips factsheet for pet owners to keep West of England pets calm and safe this Bonfire Night season.