Fireworks: How to keep your dog relaxed on bonfire night
Dog owners have been given tips on how to help their pets cope with fireworks. It comes as the fireworks season which can be terrifying for dogs with the bangs and flashes is underway with Bonfire Night coming up next Sunday.
Experts advise owners to walk their dogs earlier in the day before fireworks start, keep their pets indoors when displays are taking place, use background noise to muffle the sound and make them a safe den to retreat to.
Claire Stallard, animal behaviourist at Blue Cross, told Express.co.uk: “Fireworks can be distressing for our pets but there are steps you can take to help your dog.
“Make sure you walk your dog earlier in the day, close windows and doors and draw the curtains or blinds.
“You can also turn on the TV or radio, not too loudly, to block out some of the noise of the fireworks.
“You can prepare a den where your pet can go to feel safe and comfortable, but they may find their own hiding space such as under the bed so leave them be and stay calm and act normally, even if your pet is pacing or whining.
“You can cuddle and stroke your pet if they come to you and it helps calm them, but if they prefer to hide then let them do this instead.
“If your dog really struggles, then talk to your vet as soon as you can – they may be able to prescribe medication to help your dog.”
Blue Cross has launched its Have a Heart, Don’t Take Part campaign urging people not to host or attend home fireworks displays this year.
Ms Stallard added: “This year we’re calling for people to Have a Heart, Don’t Take Part and to avoid attending or hosting noisy fireworks parties.
“If you are going to have fireworks consider silent or low noise fireworks or sparklers, and always let your neighbours know in good time that you will be setting off fireworks as this will help pet owners make the necessary preparations.”
Research by Blue Cross found three in five pet owners say that their animals are negatively affected by fireworks.
The most common reactions include shaking, panting and bolting.
The survey by Censuswide of 2,007 pet owners also found 67 percent believe there should be a ban on home fireworks displays and 57 percent think they should not be sold in supermarkets.
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The RSPCA’s tips for dog owners during fireworks season include providing their pets with a safe haven with treats and their favourite toys.
The charity also suggests keeping doors and windows closed to help soundproof the house, as well as using diffusers which disperse calming pheromones.
It recommends owners start desensitising their pets to sounds with training CDs or use calming classical music to muffle fireworks.
It is best to walk dogs during daylight hours when fireworks are less likely, according to the charity.
The RSPCA urges owners to speak to a vet if their dog has severe fireworks fear as there may be treatment options to help them.
It comes as research by dog welfare organisation The Kennel Club found a third more dogs go missing during fireworks season.
Missing pet data from Petlog, one of the UK’s largest lost and found pet databases run by The Kennel Club, shows 34 percent more dogs were reported as missing by their owners during the first two weeks of November compared to the following two weeks.
The Kennel Club is calling on the Government to restrict fireworks to licensed events only.
The organisation’s chief executive Mark Beazley said: “The element of surprise is one of the key factors in what makes fireworks uniquely distressing for dogs. If owners can anticipate fireworks, they can manage this distress in a way that works for their dog, and we’re asking Government to recognise this and review legislation, for the sake of the nation’s pets.
“Our statistics sadly show that there really are devastating and long-term consequences when fireworks strike dogs with a sense of terror unexpectantly, with thousands of dogs running away, behaving out of character and showing clear signs of fear and distress every year.
“Whilst we urge Government to consider our recommendations to protect dog welfare, we are also urging caution from owners this fireworks season. Each dog reacts differently and it is important that owners know what do to and how they can help their four-legged friend and keep them safe.”
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