Remember, Remember your animals this November's Bonfire and Guy Fawkes Night
THE number of complaints to the RSPCA about firework related incidents fell to its lowest level in four years in 2008, with hopes for even fewer this year. The RSPCA received a total of 451 complaints from members of the public about fireworks throughout
THE number of complaints to the RSPCA about firework related incidents fell to its lowest level in four years in 2008, with hopes for even fewer this year.
The RSPCA received a total of 451 complaints from members of the public about fireworks throughout 2008, compared to 573 in 2005, 501 in 2006 and 555 in 2007.
The RSPCA investigated 306 fireworks related incidents last year, which is a significant drop compared with 553 in 2007, 500 in 2006 and 575 in 2005.
Mark Evans, the Society's chief veterinary advisor, shares his advice on how to deal with firework phobia in the latest RSPCA wildlife podcast, which can be listened to at www.rspca.org.uk/wildlife
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"Fireworks, as well as other loud noises such as thunder, cause a great amount of anxiety in dogs, but it is important that owners realise there is help out there for them and their animals. They don't have to watch their pets suffer, year after year.
"A number of scientifically proven sound therapy packs are available to buy, while your vet will be able to refer your pet to a clinical animal behaviourist if necessary," said Mark.
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An estimated 45 per cent of dogs in the UK - more than three million - are likely to show fearful behaviour when they hear fireworks.
It is therefore encouraging that the amount of people visiting the fireworks pages on the RSPCA's website doubled last year to 21,710 visits, compared to approximately 10,000 in 2007.
Numerous packs - including the RSPCA endorsed Sounds Scary! by Sound Therapy 4 Pets - are available to help owners help animals to learn to be less afraid of loud fizzes and bangs.
In a scientific trial where owners trained their dogs with the Sounds Scary! CD, together with the use of a dog appeasing pheromone (DAP), 93 per cent of owners stated there was a degree of improvement in their pet's behaviour.
Mark added: "It takes plenty of time and effort to help your pet overcome his or her firework phobia, but we want owners to help their dogs well in advance of Bonfire Night, rather than attempt and often fail to provide short term fixes that have no long-term benefit.
"It may be too late for this Guy Fawkes night, but it is an ideal time to start helping your dog ahead of the New Year fireworks."
Suzie Graham, RSPCA East regional manager, said: "It isn't just household pets that can suffer at this time of year and it is extremely important that people think about the dangers bonfires and fireworks can pose to wild animals RSPCA wildlife centres often have to treat injured and burned hedgehogs that have been caught in bonfires as a result.
"People should build bonfires as late as possible to reduce the risk of animals hiding in them. Disturbing the bonfire's foundations and checking carefully for any animals before lighting the fire can also give wildlife a chance to escape before it is lit."
The RSPCA's firework leaflet, which is full of useful advice, is available to download at www.rspca.org.uk/fireworks