The Donkey Sanctuary is reminding donkey owners to keep their pets safe during the weeks surrounding bonfire night. Donkeys can become frightened at this time of year and occasionally bolt from firework noise and can become injured.

We advise you to closely monitor your donkey - taking a look at our Top 10 Tips - and never let fireworks off near any animals. Please be respectful and responsible towards neighbouring pets and animals.

Top 10 tips

  1. Make an assessment of your donkey’s behaviour, and their reactions to other unexpected noises.
  2. For donkeys that seem calm and generally relaxed it may be sufficient to leave donkeys in their normal environment perhaps with some additional enrichment, such as a treat ball, to occupy them and give them something to take their mind off distant fireworks.
  3. If the donkeys are assessed as being extremely nervous or likely to react in an aversive way, causing them to run into fencing or panic which may lead to injury, consider stabling the donkeys securely, with sufficient food and water and if necessary staying in close proximity during any firework displays with lights on the minimise the effects of any flashing.
  4. Put the radio on with the volume up to minimise the sounds of the fireworks.
  5. Be aware of any potential danger to yourself if the donkeys do react. Take a careful risk assessment of the stable area.
  6. If donkeys are extremely nervous and you are fearful for your animals, consider discussing a product called Zylkene with your vet, which calms the animal without dulling the senses.
  7. If a firework display has taken place near your paddock, do a thorough check for bits of used firework and dispose of anything that could be dangerous.
  8. Keep your donkeys in their familiar environment, if they are usually in a stable, keep them there, and similarly keep them in the field if that is their routine.
  9. Keep donkey friends together. Donkeys bond closely and having their friend nearby can act as a calming influence.
  10. Ensure your paddock or stable is free from any hazards which may injure a spooked donkey or mule.