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Fireworks season sparks vet calls for pet safety

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The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is encouraging pet owners to start preparing now to prevent possible injury and distress to their pets during traditional dates such as Bonfire Night, Diwali or New Year’s Eve.

According to the BVA, at up to 150 decibels fireworks can be as loud as a jet engine and, with many animals particularly sensitive to noise, this can be a “traumatic” and “upsetting” time of the year for them.

Around one in 14 vets across the country reported seeing animals with firework-related injuries over 2018, in the BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey last December.

The most commonly reported cases were self injuries caused by fireworks-related anxiety.

The BVA said it is encouraging pet owners and livestock keepers to consult with their vet as far in advance as possible to discuss management and treatment options if their animals get severely distressed by fireworks or other noises.

It said a phobia of fireworks can be “effectively treated” with appropriate behaviour-modification techniques, which can achieve long-term success with professional input and owner commitment and patience.

BVA president, Daniella Dos Santos, said: “Fireworks season can be a fun time for many people, but the loud noises and bright flashes can be extremely traumatic for many animals, who have no way of understanding what is happening.

“Preparing ahead is key to keeping pets and livestock calm and safe, from discussing noise desensitisation techniques with your vet and preparing a ‘safe place’ for pets, microchipping and investing in pheromone products.”

She added: “Even if you don’t expect your pet to be anxious please consider staying close at hand on the noisiest evenings, providing background noise when fireworks are going off and, most importantly, staying calm yourself so your animal is reassured.

“If your pet gets significantly distressed by fireworks, we’d encourage you to speak to your local vet as early as possible to discuss treatment options, which can achieve long-term success with professional input and owner commitment and patience.”

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