Pet owners in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire are urged to take action to prevent cats and dogs suffering extreme distress and trauma triggered by fireworks.

Expert vets at pets charity PDSA have produced a step-by-step guide for owners to help them prepare pets for loud bangs and flashes produced by fireworks.

PDSA senior vet, Sean Wensley, said: “Anyone who has seen their pet go through this misery knows how serious their anxiety and fear of firework sounds can be. Many shake and tremble, are unable to settle, toilet in the house, destroy furniture, and can even cause themselves physical injury if they panic, try to escape or run away.”

Mr Wensley added: “For young pets, careful management of their first experience of fireworks can prevent these fears from developing in the first place. For older pets who are already suffering, reward-based behaviour techniques can be very effective.

“Both of these approaches take time and patience, so it’s important to start early – in puppy or kittenhood for young pets, and well before fireworks season for older ones.”

PDSA’s Fireworks Ready action plan takes owners through the process of preparing pets for fireworks season, use of pheromones and sound CDs, how to build a noise-reducing “fireworks den” for pets, plus a checklist for the day itself.

For dogs, a den may be behind the sofa or under a table, covered with blankets and lined with pillows or cushions to absorb noise.

Cats often feel safest when high up, so a safely secured, covered cat bed on top of a wardrobe or shelf may be their preferred option.

Each should be built a few weeks ahead of fireworks season, with pets given healthy treats or praise when using it so they build a positive association. However, they must not be forced to use it.

Ensure cats and dogs are microchipped (a legal requirement for dogs), so they can be quickly reunited with their owners if startled.

Pheromones, available as diffusers for dogs and cats, also have a calming effect on pets, and should be used for several weeks leading up to fireworks season.

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