Dog owners are having to sedate their pets to calm them down when they get distressed during firework displays.

Bonfire Night and Halloween, where trick or treaters knock on people's doors unannounced, can cause dogs to become anxious and scared.

The situation has become so bad that 13 per cent of people have had to take their pets to the vet to be treated for their reaction to sudden noises, according to a survey of 2,000 owners in the east of England.

Dogs develop a phobia to loud bangs that can gradually become worse - but there is a way to train your pets to cope with sudden noises.

The research was carried out by Adaptil for Atomik Research.

What can I do?

According to TV vet Cat Henstridge, Cat the Vet, you can treat your dog with desensitisation and counterconditioning.

Desensitisation is when you expose them to fireworks noises but at a very low level and over time slowly increase the volume - as long as they are coping.

Once they are less sensitive to fireworks you can then train them to associate fireworks with nice things, like tasty treats and toys.

To calm their dogs, 66 per cent of owners simply stay beside and stroke them and 54 per cent close the curtains and doors.

How do I know if my dog is distressed?

The worst symptoms of distress in dogs include cowering, excessive barking, running around furiously, panting and howling.

Nearly half 46 per cent of dog owners in the east of England dread Bonfire Night because of the effect it has on their pet and 7 per cent have had to ask neighbours to stop letting off fireworks because they were making their pet upset.

The majority 53 per cent of dog owners in the region say they will stay in on Bonfire Night to make sure they can comfort their pet, while a quarter, 26 per cent, will stay in at Halloween and 29 per cent will remain at home during New Year’s Eve.

Vet Andy Fullerton said: “For dogs, the sounds of fireworks naturally startle them as their hearing is much more sensitive than ours. This activates their primitive fight or flight response releasing adrenalin and cortisol.

“Fireworks tend to be more than one bang and therefore if they are unable to get away from them and have a bad experience their fear can worsen and they can develop a phobia over time.

“Firework phobias are when the “fight or flight” response has gone into overdrive resulting in a reaction way out of proportion to the threat posed by fireworks (there is no actual threat).

“Many other factors such as genetics, life events, socialisation and medical conditions can influence whether a dog develops a phobia of fireworks. A recent report by the PDSA states 51% of veterinary professionals say that they have seen an increase in pets with phobias (such as fireworks) in the last two years. This highlights the need for us to work together and raise awareness of what we can do to help our beloved dogs.”