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Look out for animal health and welfare around Guy Fawkes

Every year, veterinary clinics see animals injured and traumatised by fireworks

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With Guy Fawkes celebrations about to kick off around New Zealand, New Zealand Veterinary Association is urging people to look after their animals – and avoid letting off fireworks at home.

Every year, veterinary clinics see animals injured and traumatised by fireworks. These include pets, wildlife and stock. Some injuries are horrific. Fireworks can also cause severe anxiety and stress in animals – psychological harm that has a huge impact on animal welfare.

“We encourage people to avoid buying and letting off fireworks. Fewer fireworks reduce the negative impact on affected animals,” says Helen Beattie, the New Zealand Veterinary Association’s Chief Veterinary Officer.

“The NZVA supports a ban on the private sale of fireworks because it will improve the welfare of animals who find fireworks stressful.

“We understand some people enjoy having private fireworks displays, but it is the role of veterinarians to advocate for what is in the best interests of animals.”

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This is not an issue limited to Matariki or Guy Fawkes night. People buy and store fireworks for use at other times. This means the impact fireworks have on animals is year-round, and sporadic – making it more difficult for people to manage and protect easily stressed and anxious animals.

Animal owners should speak to their veterinarian sooner rather than later if their animal is affected by fireworks. Veterinarians can advise on how best to keep animals safe and calm. The NZVA’s top tips to protect animals from fireworks:

1. Find out where and when firework displays will take place near you.

2. Do the following to minimise stress to your animal during these times:

– Keep pets indoors, close curtains & windows.

– Bring inside rabbits, guinea pigs & other pets usually housed outside.

– Turn on the radio or television to create a familiar sound. Consider pet specific music to reduce anxiety.

– Remove items from the room/area that could injure your animal.

– Ensure your pet has somewhere comforting to hide (such as a box or crate) or somewhere else they feel safe to retreat to.

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