Local vets and farmers worry for animals during loud firework celebrations, as 35% more distressed dogs are reported missing on bonfire night.
The RSPCA recorded 436 calls on bonfire night last year – more than ever before.
Clinical manager of Park Veterinary Groups Emma Mace is concerned about frightened dogs during the commotion. The high noise levels of fireworks can damage dogs’ ultra-sensitive ears, she said.
She added that the extraordinary amount of nerves in a dog’s eardrum means sound vibrations affects dogs more than humans. While humans hear at around 2,000 Hertz, dogs function at a frequency of 8,000 Hertz.
The Veterinary Group in Cardiff urges owners to walk their dogs before dusk. Once safely inside, they recommend all doors and windows are locked and blinds drawn.
Calming diffusers and tablets are available for extra distressed pets. “Creating a relaxed atmosphere is crucial,” Emma said. She added, “Owners must never leave their pets, but acting normal tremendously helps dogs as they sense human emotion.”
The vets urge owners to respond appropriately to their pets’ desires. Filling the room with their favourite toys if they want to play can help. Alternatively, blankets should be provided for animals to burrow in should they wish to hide. Extra layers on outside cages can help reduce sound.
It’s not just indoor pets who suffer. Aled Evans, farmer of D.J.D Evans and Sons in Carmarthenshire said that fire lanterns can cause unknown fires and entrap wild creatures. “The amount of lantern litter we see on our farmland is heartbreaking,” said Aled, adding that their livestock fled from fear and destroyed fences in previous years.
Minister for Natural Resources Alun Davies said, “Fire risk from sky lanterns to agricultural crops, buildings and moorland is significant.” Welsh Fire and Rescue authorities discourage use of sky lanterns and the Minister for Local Government supports their stance.