Fears more back-garden fireworks will scare dogs - how can owners help?
- Credit: Daniela Skalla
Dog welfare organisations are warning pets could be spooked by this year’s back-garden fireworks - and reaching out to help owners.
With larger public displays being cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions, more people across Suffolk and north Essex are planning small firework displays at home.
But there are fears this could lead to more stress than usual on dogs in the region - including “pandemic puppies”, who have missed out on normal socialisation.
In research by the Kennel Club, nearly two thirds (62%) of dog owners questioned in the East of England said their dogs experience anxiety and fear during fireworks season.
With almost one in five (19%) of people in the area saying they plan to attend or host a private fireworks display this year, many owners are concerned.
The Kennel Club has been campaigning for tougher restrictions on fireworks displays, and is calling for a mandatory local authority permit scheme for private displays and limits on the maximum decibel levels of fireworks.
MORE: Meet the Suffolk man who photographs dogs all dayBill Lambert, head of health and welfare at The Kennel Club, said: “Fireworks displays can be very distressing for many dogs, causing changes to their behaviour.
“Each dog reacts differently and it is important that dog owners, especially those with young puppies, know what do to and how they can help their dogs get through the fireworks season.”
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The Dogs Trust charity has also expressed concern over the issue and is urging dog owners to take preventative measures to prepare their dogs for fireworks and help keep them as stress-free as possible.
Jenna Kiddie, head of canine behaviour at Dogs Trust, said: “For many dogs and their owners, firework season is always one they dread. But this year, dog owners are faced with the added worry that more fireworks will be set off in the local neighbourhood due to large-scale gatherings being cancelled.
MORE: Meet Suffolk’s new police dog puppies“Dogs have approximately four times more sensitive hearing than humans, so the loud cracks and bangs of fireworks can often be a terrifying experience for them.”
She added: “We would also urge anyone thinking of putting on their own fireworks display to consider the welfare of their four-legged friends and others in the neighbourhood.”
Dogs Trust has asked people wishing to host a private display to let neighbours know well in advance, so they can prepare their dogs.
They are also asking them to limit the display to 30 minutes or less and opt for quieter, lower-decibel fireworks.