Puppy dies of heart attack after 'being scared by fireworks'

4 November 2019, 15:51

40 per cent of owners claim their pet is scared of fireworks
40 per cent of owners claim their pet is scared of fireworks. Picture: Medivet

By Sylvia DeLuca

A puppy has died of a heart attack after being frightened by fireworks, as forty per cent of owners claim their pet is scared of Bonfire night, pet charity PDSA says.

Pet owner Susan Paterson posted on Facebook about Molly, her 18-week-old terrier, who "died of fright" due to "loud bangs" going off in the Wombwell and Darfield area in South Yorkshire.

"Please think of the animals. Molly was only 18 weeks old and died of FRIGHT caused by fireworks," she wrote.

The post was inundated with support from social media users, and another heartbroken pet owner commented that her rabbit had also been "scared to death" by fireworks.

Ms Paterson has shared a petition on Facebook that has been signed by almost 600,000 people. It calls for an "urgent review of firework regulations to further restrict their use, as a step to preventing needless animal suffering."

Molly, the black terrier, died from a heart attack 'because of fireworks'
Molly, the black terrier, died from a heart attack 'because of fireworks'. Picture: Facebook Susan Paterson

The RSPCA's #BangOutOfOrder campaign also calls for regulations to be changed to protect animal welfare.

The charity says it received 411 calls on Bonfire Night from concerned pet owners in 2018. It says 62 per cent of dogs show signs of distress during fireworks, 54 per cent of cats and 55 per cent of horses.

It also says farm animals are "easily frightened" by loud noises and sudden flashes of bright light, which can "startle and cause them to injure themselves on fencing and farm equipment".

Last month Sainsbury's was widely congratulated by animal welfare groups for becoming the first major British retailer to stop selling fireworks this year.

A spokesperson for the Dogs Trust said: "We congratulate Sainsbury's on their decision not to sell fireworks this year and would encourage others to do the same."

In parts of Europe, quiet fireworks displays have grown increasingly common. One town in Italy, Collecchio, passed a law in 2015 that all fireworks displays must be quiet.

Medivet UK issued the following advice for pet owners on Bonfire Night:

1) Create a safe space for your pet – but don’t confine them as this can stress them even more ·

2) Provide plenty of hiding places - under the bed, or behind the sofa for example.

3) Walk your animals early – gradually change the routine a week before fireworks begin

4) Consider bringing hutches and runs indoors – whether in the house, garage or shed, this will help create a solid noise barrier. If you’re unable to bring them inside, lay a few thick blankets over their hutch to help muffle the bangs.

5) Close windows, curtains and blinds – both muffling noise and stopping them fleeing

6) Provide extra bedding – rabbits and some other exotics burrow when scared

Cats and horses are scared of fireworks too, the RSPCA says
Cats and horses are scared of fireworks too, the RSPCA says. Picture: Pixabay

7) Stay at home – your presence alone will help soothe your pet

8) Turn up the radio/TV – this provides a mask to the noise and a familiar sound to reassure them

9) Give them a treat – whether stimulating toys or a tasty treat, reward their bravery

10) Invest in a pheromone adaptor – place a few throughout the home to help calm your pet’s nerves (ask your vet for the best option for your pet)

"Ensuring cats and dogs are microchipped, just in case they escape, is crucial," according to Medivet’s veterinary expert Dr Gareth Richardson, Head of Clinical Standards.

"With a microchip, owners have the best chance of being reunited with their pet," he said.

"For us fireworks inspire joy and wonder, but for pets it’s often the opposite. Realise the specific needs of your pet and do what’s best for them, he added.