Dogs should be cuddled, not ignored, if scared of fireworks - charity

  • 30/12/2017
A UK charity warns previous advice could make things worse.
A UK charity warns previous advice could make things worse. Photo credit: Getty / File

If your dog is scared of fireworks this upcoming New Year's Eve, you should be cuddling them instead of ignoring them.

That's the latest advice from UK-based Dogs Trust, which warns previous advice from animal experts is wrong.

Pet owners used to be told to leave their pet alone and not to fuss over them, as it could instead reinforce the bad behaviour.

However Dogs Trust says you should still reassure them if they come to you.

"If you suddenly withdraw reassurance when they are terrified by noises it is likely to cause them to be very distressed," the charity says in a post on its website.

"In the long term it is better that your dog is not reliant on your attention when he or she is worried - but changing this is a long term aim, not something to start when he or she is panicking with fireworks going off!"

Dogs Trust director of canine behaviour and research Dr Rachel Casey says fireworks, with their unpredictable flashes of bright lights and sudden loud sounds, can be terrifying for your beloved pooch.

"This combination of effects can often have a profoundly negative and in many cases, lasting impact on dogs," she said.

"We would urge anyone thinking of putting on a fireworks display to consider their four-legged friends and give notice to owners in the area to ensure they can make plans to keep their dog safe and happy."

Dogs Trust says you should still try and distract your pup with other noises, such as music, and closing your curtains to reduce the impact of the noises and flashes.