Derry City and Strabane District Council have encouraged the public to keep an eye on their dogs this firework season.
They have endorsed the Dogs Trust’s 5 Top Tips campaign, which offers simple advice on how to ease scared pooches’ fears.
Tips on how to prepare your dog before fireworks begin include making sure that they are well exercised and have had a toilet break, as well as feeding them beforehand in case they become unsettled and refuse food while the fireworks are taking place.
Dogs can try to escape when they are scared, so the public are encouraged to make sure their house and garden are secure, and to make sure their furry friends are settled in a safe hiding place where they feel relaxed. The Dogs Trust recommend closing the curtains, turning the lights on and turning the volume up on your TV or radio to drown out the firework noises.
While fireworks are ongoing, it’s important that you don’t punish your dog for cowering or reacting as it will only intensify their fear. Owners should remain at home with their pet to prevent them from panicking and potentially sustaining an injury, and if their dog approaches, owners should interact with their pooch calmly to comfort them.
A great tip is to distract them by playing games or enjoying some reward-based training to keep their mind off the noises, however, if they just want to hide away then don't force them to come out of their hiding place, instead allow them to stay where they feel safe.
You can help spread the word on social media by using #FireworkDogCode to ensure all dogs have a safe and happy firework season. There are also useful tips for dogs owners whose dogs have a fear of loud noises and need longer term treatment. For further advice please, check the Dogs Trust Website.