Bonfire Night fireworks: Warning for dog owners as loud bangs can cause ‘fatalities’

Dog owners have been warned to take precautions ahead of Bonfire Night this year as the sound of fireworks can cause the pets distress and even lead to fatalities.

Firework season begins this weekend and runs until New Year’s Eve, but especially over the next two weeks you can expect to hear fireworks let off at all times across South London.

With the higher noise levels caused by large fireworks – available for public purchase through various retail outlets and used for back garden displays – many dogs and other pets that are sensitive to the noise of loud bangs will suffer with stress and anxiety.

Shannon Bydawell, 40, lives in Brixton and said her dog became so stressed he developed a fear of loud noises after a Bonfire Night fireworks show.

“A few years ago on the evening of the annual bonfire night fireworks celebration I visited a friend who lives beside Battersea Park,” she sad. “Prior to this, my dog, Norman had no issues with loud noises so I didn’t think the noise would be an issue. 

“The fireworks were excessively loud and Norman became so stressed he wet himself, he was agitated and shaking and it was very distressing for us both. 

“Since that evening Norman has developed a fear of loud noise and will now leave the room and hide if I use the vacuum cleaner or the TV is too loud. 

“Fortunately I live in an area where the noise from fireworks celebrations is minimal, so Norman and I plan to stay indoors and hide from any noise, but I know a lot of dogs and owners who aren’t that lucky and will be facing a very stressful time.”

Dog day care company Dog Tales Club has said during the firework season it often hears of concerns from clients about how to deal with the noise of fireworks, and who are keen to know how to keep their dogs calm and safe.

Dog Tales Club workers, from left, Lauren Hill, operational manager, Leo Hussey, dog care assistant, Athus Tegani, founder, front centre, and Veridiana Fernandes, founder (Picture: Dog Tales Club)

Athus Tegani and his business partner, Veridiana Fernandes, opened Dog Tales Club in Clapham Road, Stockwell, in April 2021. He said there are a number of practical steps that pet owners can take to avoid undue stress on their pets.

Mr Tegani said: “It is important to make sure that pets are kept indoors in a calm and safe environment and that you do what you can to blank out the sound.

“Before Bonfire Night, try to acclimatise your pets to the sound of fireworks. There is plenty of downloadable content which can give you the opportunity to introduce your pet to a variety of potentially disturbing noises in a controlled, positive manner.

“Take your dog for a precautionary toilet break before dusk, as your pet may feel too anxious to venture outside until they feel calm has returned. 

“During the fireworks, distract your pet from the noise by having the TV or the radio switched on or play some calming music.

“You should never take your dog to a firework display or tie them up outside while fireworks are going off.

“There are also a number of excellent natural and herbal calming aids on the market that come in spray, tincture, chew or powder formats.”

Pictured top: Shannon Bydawell with her dog, Norman (Picture: Shannon Bydawell)

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