Fireworks fortnight sees a third more dogs go missing

Fireworks: How to keep your dog relaxed on bonfire night

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Fireworks have been reported across the UK in the last week as Diwali and Guy Fawkes Night causes a spike in the number of dogs getting lost, according to the Kennel Club. Half of dog owners claim their pets are scared of fireworks, with the noise and bright colours causing stress in animals. During the fortnight between Oct 28 and Nov 11 2021, the Kennel Club’s microchipping programme Petlog saw a 34 per cent spike in lost dogs with 150 marked as missing, according to the Telegraph. 

In the following fortnight, 112 dogs were labelled as missing. And it’s not just pets that suffer from the noise, with farm animals, including horses, also going missing as the loud noises spook them.

The Kennel Club is now calling on MPs to change the legal volume of fireworks to 90 decibels, down from the current level of 120 decibels.

Holly Conway, head of public affairs at the Kennel Club, said: “Because evolution has hard-wired dogs with strong survival instincts these loud, unexpected noises coming from different places at different times, as well as strange sights and smells, can trigger a fight-or-flight response.

“Dogs, who feel safe and secure when they can predict and control their environment, might run away, escape or hide, or display fearful behaviour, like barking or trembling, to drive away the perceived threat.

“Dogs also have an acute sense of hearing which is much more sensitive than ours. They can hear sounds that are four times further away than humans and can detect significantly higher frequencies.

“Research shows the current 120 decibel limit is simply incompatible with dog welfare. We wholeheartedly support the parliamentary petitions committee’s recommendation for a reduction of the maximum decibel limit of fireworks to 90 decibels.

“We believe this is a workable reduced limit which could diminish some of the risks to the nation’s pets.”

In a Kennel Club survey, nearly half of 1,000 dog owners said their pets were scared of fireworks, with one in five noticing signs of stress.

20 per cent noticed pacing, with another 20 percent experiencing howling and crying and 18 per cent excessively panting.

One in three (31 per cent) noticed that their dog shivers and trembles during firework displays, and more than a quarter (26 per cent) mentioned unusual excessive barking.

The organisation has given tips to pet owners to help calm them over the next week. 

Making a “safe space” filled with favoured toys and blankets can help, as can trying to soundproof an area with duvets, shutting windows and doors, distracting the dog with TV and radio, and rewarding calm behaviour.

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Several radio stations will be playing soothing music for dogs that aims to calm them during the night.

As well as this, the Kennel Club have put together a playlist of firework sounds to help owners to acclimatise their pet to slowly by increasing the volume gradually.

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