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Bonfire Night Tips

3rd November 2021

Keeping animals safe and calm this Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night might be an evening of high jinx and thrills but this excitement is not shared by animals.

The days and weeks leading up to Bonfire Night can be extremely stressful and even dangerous for pets and wildlife.

Here, we outline ways in which pet owners and the public can enjoy the autumnal festivities, whilst keeping creatures big and small safe and secure.

Protecting pets

Though thrilling to us, fireworks can be frightening to animals.
Firstly, it is important to recognise the signs of anxiety in animals. These include:

• Hiding or running away when they hear loud noises.
• Pacing up and down, trembling, becoming destructive.
• Unexpected soiling or panting.

No owner wants their beloved pet to experience fear so they can take measures in the lead up and during festivities to help their animal feel calm.

Owners can:

• Walk dogs during the day to avoid times when fireworks will be going off
• Close windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks
• Bring their pet’s favourite toy or blanket
• Play relaxing music in the background
• Create quiet hiding spaces where your pet can feel in control
• Partly cover cages and pens with blankets but ensure they can still see out
• Provide bedding for small animals to burrow in

Animals out in the field, such as horses and donkeys, can also be nervous and startled by the bangs and whistles of fireworks.

In advance, owners should check if there are going to be any firework displays in close proximity and contact display organisers to ask them to set off their fireworks in the opposite direction.

Wildlife wary

Although you may not see them scurrying or leaping around, the great outdoors is full of wildlife.

At this time of year, as bonfires are built and lit, it is vital that they are protected.
Hedgehogs, toads, frogs and newts are particularly vulnerable, as they may seek shelter from the harsh weather by mistaking a bonfire for a pile of leaves and logs.

Here are some tips for keeping wildlife safe this Bonfire Night:

• Consider creating a small pile of wood and leaves as an alternative shelter a few days before building a bonfire.
• Find an open area that is clear of leaves and debris. Always check the area for any small animals before making a start.
• Build the bonfire on the day you are lighting it. If you need to build in advance, take measures to prevent access, such as a robust barrier made from chicken wire.
• Before lighting the bonfire, always make sure to check for any small animals sheltering, using a torch.
• If you do find any animals, pick them up using gloves and move them underneath a tree or shrubbery, somewhere which is sheltered and not exposed to frost.
• After taking all the above precautionary measures, light your bonfire from one corner to give any animals the chance to escape if they are still hiding.
• Have fresh water at the ready to extinguish the fire.
• Before leaving the bonfire, make sure the bonfire is completely out, as it can remain hot for days and potentially harm wildlife.
• Ensure any rubbish, such as cans and bottles, is removed.



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