GUIDE dog owner MSP Dennis Robertson has offered advice for keeping pets, like his dog Mr Q, calm during Hogmanay fireworks.
The Scottish Society for the Protection of Animals (SSPCA) has estimated 45% of dogs show signs of fear when they hear fireworks – but firework phobia is a treatable condition.
Aberdeenshire West SNP MSP Mr Robertson has backed an eight-point plan for owners to keep their pets stress-free.
He said: “Mr Q and his pals love this time of year, getting to spend more time at home with their families and enjoying the festive cheer.
“However, Hogmanay can be a stressful night for many animals – who don’t understand why their normal peaceful evenings are interrupted by bright lights and loud noises.
“I always do my best to ensure Mr Q is relaxed and I know that he’s safe, so this year I’m backing the eight-point guide to helping your pets deal with fireworks.
“If owners follow these simple tips, then it can help ensure a less frightening celebration for everyone.
“My message to pet owners is that if you follow these simple tips, your pets will have a less stressful time – and be able to enjoy ringing in the New Year with the rest of the family.”
The eight steps to a happy pet start with walking dogs early during daylight hours and keeping pets indoors when fireworks are likely to be going off.
Have a doggy play area with their favourite toys and treats, move them here when the fireworks start.
Ensure pets are secure and cannot escape if they are suddenly frightened. Making sure pooches or moggies have somewhere safe to hide if they want to.
Owners are urged to comfort pets to help relax them or give them space if they need it.
Other tips include closing windows, curtains and playing music to mask and hide the sight and sounds of fireworks.
Pet owners are also recommended not to punish their pets when they’re scared.
Another tip is to ignore the fireworks and play with a toy in a bid to get pets to join in.