Number of missing dogs doubles during firework season as Bonfire Night and Diwali approach

Microchip data shows that the number of dogs going missing doubles during the week of fireworks celebrations. Credit: The Kennel Club

The number of dogs that go missing doubles during the firework season across Wales, according to new research by The Kennel Club.

The findings show how the firework season impacts dogs with 89% of owners noticing "significant changes" in their canines behaviour.

Data from Petlog, the UK’s largest microchip database, shows that the number of dogs going missing doubles during the week of fireworks celebrations.

It comes as Diwali and Bonfire Night celebrations are fast approaching, both of which are often celebrated through bright and loud firework displays.

The loud noises can cause animals to suffer from stress and worrying behavioural changes with more than one in three owners saying their dog is "terrified" by the fireworks.

Some dogs start to shiver and tremble, and become extra clingy to their owners. Whereas other will hide away and avoid contact. Others might bark excessively.

More than three quarters of Welsh owners have also notices changes in their dog's mood with them being scared and anxious.

Melanie lost her Labradoodle when fireworks went off in the neighbouring village in 2019.

"Noodles was in the garden when fireworks, which we did not know about and were not expecting, were set off in the neighbouring village and he got scared and bolted", said Melanie.

"We searched the area for days, and despite the help of neighbours and friends, social media and various organisations he’s never been found.

"He was a part of our family and he brought so much joy and laughter to our whole family. Not knowing what’s happened to him makes it even harder.

"I would urge anyone thinking of hosting a fireworks display to at least let their neighbours know so they can be prepared, and owners should make sure their dogs and other animals are safe ahead of time, bearing in mind that the sounds travel quite far.

More than 1/3 of Welsh owners say their dog is "terrified" by the fireworks. Credit: The Kennel Club

It's not just during firework season where dogs are impacted, there are also long-term effects according to The Kennel Club chief executive, Mark Beazley.

He explained, "Fireworks displays, especially if they are unexpected, can have devastating and long-term effects, with dozens of dogs going missing every year and thousands more showing clear signs of fear and distress.

"This new research shows the wide-ranging negative impacts of fireworks on dog welfare and behaviour, with dogs trembling, hiding and crying, and leaving their owners rightfully worried about their four-legged friend’s welfare and safety.

"Each dog reacts differently and it is important that dog owners, especially those with young puppies, know what do to and how they can help their dogs get through the fireworks season safely, and for those involved in displays to be considerate to the nation’s pets."

The club had encouraged Welsh owners to make their pets as safe and as comfortable as possible, with their favourite toys and blankets.

Experts also suggest closing all the doors and windows and keeping curtains closed to block the flashing lights.

In the instance where your dog does run away, it's important to keep microchip details up to date to make it easier to find them.