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Firework and bonfire safety for animals

As Hallowe’en, Guy Fawkes night and Diwali draw closer, in all the excitement it is important to remember that these occasions can be highly dangerous and terrifying for animals – pets or wild.

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Sarah Solomon, Practice Manager of Heath Veterinary Clinic in Burgess Hill and Hurstpierpoint, offers her advice on keeping pets calm and animals safe throughout the autumn festivities:

Small wild animals such as hedgehogs, field mice, frogs and newts are lovers of dark warm places like bonfire piles. If possible, make your bonfire on the day you intend to light it, giving creatures less time to get comfortable within it and build it on open ground, not on piles of leaves. Check again with a torch and use a stick to lift areas before lighting – just to be sure.

Clear up thoroughly after your fireworks display. Dead fireworks, empty cans and lids can be hazardous to small animals. Also, smouldering ashes are a danger so ensure everything is put out properly.

Cats, dogs and other pets will almost certainly be frightened of fireworks and bonfires so get prepared beforehand.  Creating a den can give any pet a good place to hide and feel secure. Dogs like to be underneath things like tables whilst cats prefer to be hidden but up high. Rabbits and guinea pigs should be brought inside the home and given extra hay to hide within.

There are some great calming products on the market, such as Feliway for cats or Adaptil and Nutracalm for dogs. These products mimic appeasing pheromones and for many pets may help on the night.

On the night, ensure you get your cats and small furries shut in your home securely before dark and take the dog for a long walk to tire him out. Stock up on treats and engage your pets in some fun play to distract them.

If you are worried about your pet showing prolonged signs of distress, visit your local veterinarian.

For more information and advice please visit www.heathvets.com or call us at Burgess Hill on 01444 242500 or Hurstpierpoint on 01273 832968.

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