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What to do if your dog is afraid of fireworks.

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

IT’S the time of the year that millions of youngsters look forward to.

But dreaded by dogs and their owners across the UK.

The familiar bangs and whistles of Bonfire Night seem to start earlier every year leaving a nation of dogs cowering behind the sofa.

Although public fireworks displays are likely to be cancelled this year due to Covid 19 it means that more people will stage their own private displays leading to greater misery for pets and owners.

The law states that people must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except for Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight, New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am.

Yet the law seems to be ignored by many with fireworks being heard as early as the beginning of October.

Although banning fireworks is not an option as of present, there are steps that dog owners can take to ease their pooch’s fear.

The Dogs Trust advises owners to:

· Walk their pets before dark well before any fireworks start.

· Make your house and garden escape-proof. Dogs can try to run away if frightened. Close windows and curtains, turn on the lights and the TV to disguise the noise.

· Feed your dog before the fireworks start as they may be too scared to eat later.

· Create a hiding place for your dog such as a den where they can feel safe and secure.

· When fireworks start keep your dog company.

· Provide your dog with entertainment by playing games or practicing reward-based training.

· You can also comfort and reassure your dog by trying to stay calm yourself so that they don’t pick up how you’re feeling.

· Don’t punish your dog for reacting to fireworks.

However for many dogs this is not enough. People should speak to their vets who may be able to prescribe anxiety medication or refer the animal to a qualified behaviourist.

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