A Carlisle vets is preparing for an increase in calls from worried owners whose pets are terrified of fireworks.

The bangs and flashes of fireworks start in the run up to Bonfire Night and often continue for several weeks, before resuming on New Year’s Eve.

Ashlea Veterinary Centre, on Port Road Business Park, is offering advice to help keep pets calm. The practice is encouraging clients to contact staff for advice on ways to prevent pets becoming stressed and anxious.

Ashlea Vets recommends cats and dogs are kept safely indoors during fireworks season to prevent injury and stress and that windows and doors are kept shut to prevent them bolting through fear.

Pets should also wear collars and tags, while microchips should be up to date so they can be reunited with their owner if they run away.

Veterinary nurse Rebecca Gillespie said: “With the fireworks season stretching over several weeks, this can be a difficult time for pets and their owners, and our advice is to think ahead so you can keep them happy, safe and comfortable.

“Dogs should not be left alone during this time and even pets that have previously shown no fear can become sensitive, so it is advisable to speak to your vet for advice.

“The biggest worry is that many pets will bolt through fear, so make sure doors and windows are shut. Providing a safe place where they can hide, like a den, is a good idea, and there are also over-the-counter therapies that can help to keep them calm.”

Playing music can help to calm pets showing signs of fireworks phobia. Using a CD of fireworks noises to gradually get them used to the sound in the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night so your pet learns there’s nothing to be afraid of may help.

Pheromones, which are available as diffusers, releasing scent undetectable to humans, can have a calming, reassuring effect on pets and can be used for several weeks leading up to fireworks season.