A VETERINARY group on the outskirts of Chester is urging dog owners to take care of their pets during firework season and has issued top tips for keeping them safe.

Cranmore Veterinary Services, based on Chester Gates Business Park, says there are a number of steps owners can take to protect their pets during the Halloween and Bonfire Night period.

Clinical director Samantha Van der Struys said: “Unlike a lot of humans, dogs can be scared of fireworks. The loud noises and flashing lights can be very frightening for your dog, but there are things you can do to minimise their stress.

“Top tips include creating a safe place in your home. This should be a comfortable hiding place where your pet likes to go – a box or a table draped with a blanket is a great retreat.

"Or, if your pet is used to being in a crate, cover it and leave it open with blankets inside.

"Don’t lock your pet in the crate, as this can be even more stressful for them. Give your pet options so they can choose where to hide.

“You should make sure you keep your pets inside and close curtains, windows and doors. It’s not only the sound of fireworks that can cause distress for them, it’s also the flashing lights.

"Leave lights on indoors to reduce the impact. You can also turn on TV/radio to mask the sound and provide toys, treats and distractions.”

Cranmore’s other advice is:

  • Be a friend! Don’t leave your pet alone and don’t punish them as this will only make them more distressed.
  • Make sure your pets are microchipped and that their details are up to date. In the worst-case scenario, any pet that does get out or runs away from home while fireworks are going off can be reunited with its owner much more easily if it has been microchipped. Microchipping your dog is now a legal requirement, as of April 2016.
  • If your dog is still extremely stressed by fireworks after following our advice, you may want to consult your vet. A vet may be able to provide medication to help reduce your pet’s anxiety. However, any medicinal treatment should always be accompanied by a behaviour management plan.
  • Use a pheromone diffuser such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. Mothers communicate with their offspring using natural comforting messages released from the mammary zone for dogs and the face and paws for cats. These diffusers replicate this. They are odourless and provide a strong signal of comfort and security. They can be purchased from Cranmore Veterinary Surgery and are currently 10 per cent off.

The Cranmore Surgery was established in 1973 and was predominantly a farm and equine practice. By the late 1970s, farming was on the wane in the area and Cranmore moved towards being a small animal practice.

Cranmore relocated in 2010 from Childer Thornton on Chester Road to a larger site along the A5117, joining with the ChesterGates hospital to form Cranmore Veterinary Services.