<p>Little puppy hides under a cupboard</p>

Little puppy hides under a cupboard

Number of dogs going missing doubles during fireworks season

A third of owners say their pets are ‘terrified’ of the displays

Saman Javed
Monday 25 October 2021 14:11

The number of dogs that go missing across the UK doubles during fireworks season, according to new research by The Kennel Club.

It is a particularly distressing time for dogs, with eight in 10 owners saying they notice a significant change in their pet’s behaviour.

Data from The Kennel Club’s Petlog, the UK’s largest microchip database, found that the number of dogs that go missing doubles during the annual week of fireworks celebrations.

Fireworks displays are held across the UK during the first week of November to mark Diwali and Bonfire Night.

Additionally, a survey of 1,000 owners found that one third of dogs are “terrified” of firework displays.

The changes in behaviour include unusual excessive barking in some dogs, while a quarter of dogs become extra clingy towards their owner.

A further 25 per cent of owners said they experienced the opposite, with their pets hiding under surfaces and avoiding contact.

Some dogs displayed more obvious signs of distress, such as pacing, howling and crying (20 per cent), and excessive panting (18 per cent).

Aside from behavioural changes, owners also noticed a change in their dog’s mood, with more than a third of people (36 per cent) saying they believe fireworks make their dog anxious.

One in ten owners surveyed said their dog has previously attempted, or successfully managed, to run away during fireworks displays.

One dog owner from Berkshire, Melanie, lost her labradoodle Noodles during fireworks season in 2019.

“Noodles was in the garden when fireworks, which we did not know about and were not expecting, were set off in the neighbouring village and he got scared and bolted,” Melanie said.

“We searched the area for days, and despite the help of neighbours and friends, social media and various organisations, he’s never been found.

“The horrible feeling when your pet goes missing is gut-wrenching, he was a part of our family and he brought so much joy and laughter to our whole family. Not knowing what’s happened to him makes it even harder.”

How to protect your dog when fireworks are going off

Ahead of Diwali and Bonfire Night, The Kennel Club has issued some advice for those with dogs.

The club recommends closing doors, windows and curtains to minimise noise and block flashing lights.

Owners could also create a “safe space” for their dog filled with their favourite toys and blankets, or distract their pet by keeping the TV or radio switched on.

Mark Beazley, chief executive of The Kennel Club, said unexpected fireworks displays can have “devastating and long-term effects” on dogs.

“This new research shows the wide-ranging negative impacts of fireworks on dog welfare and behaviour, with dogs trembling, hiding and crying, and leaving their owners rightfully worried about their four-legged friend’s welfare and safety,” he said.

“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 safely, and for those involved in displays to be considerate to the nation’s pets.”

The club has created a “Firework Pet Training” playlist, which can help in getting dogs used to the sounds of fireworks if played in the run up to November.

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