Fireworks parties in back garden will rocket in popularity this year as organised events are cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But what promises to be great fun for families spells terror for pets.
The charity Dogs Trust is urging all owners to take preventative measures to prepare their pets for fireworks.
Amanda Sands, rehoming centre manager at Dogs Trust Leeds 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.
“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.
“There are lots of things dog owners can do to help make fireworks less stressful for their dogs."
Here are some tips:
*Walk your dog before dark – make sure your pet is well-exercised and has had a toilet break before the fireworks begin.
*Feed your dog before the fireworks begin as they may become unsettled and not want to eat during the fireworks.
*Make sure your house and garden are secure during the fireworks as fear may make your dog try to escape.
*Try to settle your dog before the fireworks start – if your dog is in familiar safe surroundings it will help them cope with the noise.
*Provide a safe hiding place. Close curtains, turn lights on and turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out firework noises and flashing lights.
People who are holding private fireworks parties are advised by the charity to be considerate by following these steps:
*Let your neighbours know well in advance, so they can prepare their dogs.
*Limit your display to 30 minutes or less.
*Opt for quieter, lower decibel fireworks.
For further advice about preventing and dealing with fear of loud noises such as fireworks, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/fireworks website.
(photo by Clive Tagg)