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Fireworks and loud noises top list of dogs’ biggest fears
Guide Dogs has put together advice for pet owners ahead of Bonfire Night.
Guide Dogs issues advice for pet owners ahead of Bonfire Night

More than a quarter of pet owners say their dog’s biggest fears are fireworks and loud noises, according to new research.

More than 32,000 people were surveyed in the Guide Dogs’ Great British Dogs Survey. Of these, 8,473 people said their dogs were more scared of fireworks than being left alone or going to the vet.

In light of its findings, Guide Dogs has put together advice for pet owners ahead of Bonfire Night, which includes looking out for the warning signs of stress, getting dogs used to the noise and making dogs relaxed on the day.

Guide Dogs volunteer Sophie Vann, uffered her own negative fireworks experience last year while walking her one-year-old guide dog puppy, Vixen.  
 
Sophie said: “I was out for a walk with my partner when a firework was thrown into an underpass we were heading through. The noise scared the life out of us, especially Vixen. She wasn’t herself for a few months after.”

Sophie explained that it took about three months of careful training to get Vixen used to loud noises again and that she was already thinking about this year’s fireworks back in July.

“It’s all about building layers of confidence. Since the incident, I prepare for fireworks season early and start by playing a fireworks playlist on my computer in the weeks and months leading up to it,” she said. “Gradually I increase the volume, but I’m careful to ensure this is done gently to avoid making Vixen feel anxious.

“As for Bonfire Night itself, I’ll make sure she gets fed earlier, so that she can go out in the garden before the fireworks start. I’ll also move her bed away from the backdoor so that she can’t see the flashes. Vixen is going to be a guide dog mum in the future so I have to make sure she’s as comfortable as possible.” 

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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from bigbutterflycount.org/.

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
New appointment at Dechra

Dechra Veterinary Products Ltd (Dechra) has announced a key appointment to support veterinary professionals across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Karen Hockley has been appointed as a telesales account manager and will provide the latest products, news and developments from Dechra. She joins the company from a large mixed practice in Northern Ireland where she was the branch manager.

Before that, Karen had worked for a multinational veterinary pharmaceutical company as a key account manager for Northern Ireland. She can be contacted at karen.hockley@dechra.com or 087 219 54 30.