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It’s the time of year for Bonfires and Fireworks and although it will be different because of Covid this year we must still consider our pets and the impact it can have on them. Many animals find fireworks scary. It is estimated that 45 per cent of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.

Here are a few tips to consider.

• If your pets live outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out.

• Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow in.

• Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if he or she wants to and has access to this place at all times. For example, this could be under some furniture or in a cupboard.

• During firework seasons, walk dogs during daylight hours and keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.

• Avoid leaving your pets alone – they will feel safer with you around.

• If your pet starts feeling anxious – stay calm and act normally. This will help your pet feel safer and lets them know there is nothing to fear. Do not respond directly to their anxiety – you will only reinforce it.

• At nightfall close windows and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks.

• If your pet shows any signs of fear try to ignore their behaviour. Leave them alone unless they are likely to harm themselves.

• Never punish or fuss over your pet when it’s scared as this will only make things worse in the long run.

• Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there’s a sudden noise. Have your pet microchipped in case they do escape.

It’s also very important to keep a sharp eye out if you are dog walking. Sometimes parks and green areas can be littered with the remains of rockets and fireworks which can be dangerous if ingested. Make sure your animal doesn’t pick up anything which looks like a firework or swallow any firework debris.

If you are unsure of your pet’s behaviour or if you know your pet is stressed by fireworks, please seek veterinary advice.

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