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 this Saturday.
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 you 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.
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.