With Bonfire Night around the corner many of us are planning where to go to catch the best firework display - but spare a thought for our four legged friends.
Shocking new figures from Dogs Trust has revealed that 72 per cent of dogs are frightened of fireworks.
And of these one in 10 have been so severely affected that they have required veterinary treatment.
According to Linda Ferguson, who set up Leeds Cat Rescue 15 years ago, the situation is no different for cats.
Most are scared of loud bangs at least the first time they experience them, if not for life she told Consumerwatch.
Smaller mammals such as guinea-pigs, gerbils, hamsters and rabbits can be just as badly affected.
The good news is more than 90 per cent of those surveyed by Dogs Trust claimed to change their pet’s routine during Bonfire Night and the Hindu festival of lights Diwali - which usually also involves a firework display.
Linda of Leeds Cat Rescue said: “Good cat owners all know to keep their pets in at this time of year.
“It depends on the age of the cat, but I’d say they are all scared of loud bangs as kittens and most get used to it as they get older.
“I have two older cats that wouldn’t bat an eye lid but the younger ones are scared.”
But many animal owners remain unaware that Catherine Wheels, sparklers and other firework favourites can really traumatise their pets.
Each year the Dogs Trust is inundated by calls from bewildered owners who simply do not know how to calm their pets’ nerves.
Lynn Barber, head of canine behaviour and training at the dogs welfare charity, said: “November is a worrying month for dog owners as so many dogs are sensitive to sounds.
“They hear much higher frequencies than we do and the whizz, bang, pop of fireworks can be too much for them.”
Amanda Sands, rehoming manager at Dogs Trust Leeds on York Road, added: “If your dog chooses to hide then that is where he or she feels safest and it’s important that they’re allowed to stay in their hide-out as long as needed.
“Often owners will try and drag their dogs out for enforced cuddles and affection but this should be avoided as it will only confuse your canine.
“However if your dog decides that the safest place to be is with you then it is better to give him or her some reassuring contact and affection.
“This will help reduce the physiological signs of fear and anxiety and will help your dog to get through the fright of fireworks.
“Try and make your four-legged friend as comfortable as possible.”
Before the fireworks begin Amanda advises dog owners to:
* Make sure your pet is well exercised and has had a toilet break before dark;
* Feed your dog early as he might now want to eat during a loud firework display;
* Make sure your house and garden are secure as a fear of fireworks could cause a dog to act out of character and try to escape;
* Ensure your dog is in familiar surroundings to help him cope with noise;
* Provide a safe hiding place – such as space under a table in his favourite room;
* Close curtains and turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out firework noises;
* If your dog responds well to certain music, play it at a reasonable level to drown out the bangs.
* Never punish a dog for cowering or reacting to fireworks as this will only intensify his fear;
* Remain relaxed to provide a good role model to your animal when it is afraid;
* Never leave your dog alone during the fireworks period – he or she may panic and this could result in an injury;
* Keep your dog busy – play games or enjoy some reward-based training to keep their mind off the noises;
* Be careful not to reward your dog for reacting to noise – giving lots of attention may encourage them.
* Never force a dog outside when fireworks are being let off, and never let them off a lead outdoors.
The number of calls from distressed owners who lost a pet on Bonfire Night doubled last year, according to Petlog, the UK’s largest lost and found database for microchipped pets that was set up by the Kennel Club.
If you still need help, contact your local vet or animal charity for remedies to help calm your pet during firework season.