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A Dog-Lover's Guide To Halloween And Bonfire Night

Top tips on keeping our four-legged friends calm and safe around Halloween and Bonfire Night - plus cute photos of dogs in their Halloween costumes!

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It's that time of year again when we start to celebrate all things spooky.

Canine Partners / Via

The young and young at heart have spent weeks planning their scariest costumes ready for Halloween.

And days later we will light up the skies with displays of the brightest and loudest fireworks.

But while most people find these events fun, they can be terrifying for our furry companions.

And hundreds of assistance dog owners up and down the country could find their highly-trained and invaluable lifeline traumatised by fireworks or trick or treaters and unable to do their important job.

Canine Partners / Via

But it's not just assistance dogs that are affected by loud, noisy fireworks, excited children and frightening outfits - other pets inside and outside the home can get frightened too.

So I asked Alyssa Ralph who looks after assistance dogs at charity Canine Partners for her top tips on how to keep our furrier family members happy and safe this time of year.

Plus it's a great excuse to see some of the charity's dogs dressed up!

Don't let dogs greet trick or treaters

Canine Partners / Via

Alyssa Ralph, one of the charity's dog welfare officers, said: "We strongly advise all our puppy parents, partners and foster parents not to let their dog go with them to the front door to greet trick or treaters. It's best to keep them calm and quiet in another room in the house when going to the door."

Don't take dogs to fireworks displays

Canine Partners / Via

"Dogs should not be taken to a fireworks display. They may be fun for people but they are terrifying for dogs. Try to plan ahead and take your pooch for a long walk before any evening activities start," Alyssa added.

Never force pets to dress up

Canine Partners / Via

Alyssa said: "And it's important never to force a dog to dress up. If they are happy to wear a costume, make sure garments are flame resistant and don't restrict movement."

Bring outdoor pets inside

Canine Partners / Via

"Meanwhile, any pets that usually like to be outdoors should be kept inside where possible, or kept in their safe outdoor housing. For example, people should make sure cats are indoors during the evenings rather than prowling the neighbourhood," Alyssa added.

Charity Canine Partners suggest people follow the ROCKET code to help prevent pets from being traumatised by fireworks.

Canine Partners / Via

Reduce outside noise in your house by closing windows and curtains and turning on a television or radio.

Occupy pets with games or toys. This acts as a great distraction

Calm and quiet behaviour should be rewarded, while anxious and worried behaviour should be ignored

Keep calm yourself – your anxiety can transfer to your pet

Early use of anti-stress aids can be beneficial

Time out in safe areas - pets often find their own safe place where they feel secure

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