Dog owners in Reading have called for private fireworks to be banned.

Allowing fireworks beyond organised events means their pets are regularly left shaking, crying and hiding throughout winter.

One concerned owner is Karen Woodage, who pays as much as £300 each year on calming products for her German Shephard Ryke and her Jack Russel-Chihuahua cross Ruby.

“It’s heart-breaking because there’s nothing more I can do for them,” said Karen, from Calcot, describing how Ryke shakes and barks due to the explosions.

Reading Chronicle: Karen Woodage with her dogs Ryke and RubyKaren Woodage with her dogs Ryke and Ruby

She said that she can prepare her pups for organised events with set dates, but the prevalence of private firework displays from October to January means they are often caught off-guard.

Lower Earley Dachshund owner Galina Gridneva agreed private fireworks displays had gotten out of hand.

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She said: “Every year it has become worse because before it was just a few days - bonfire night, Diwali and New Year’s – but now it feels like without any reason people are setting off fireworks every single evening.”

Her dog Poppy has become so scared of explosions in the winter that she won’t go outside after dark.

Reading Chronicle: Poppy the dachshund, from EarleyPoppy the dachshund, from Earley

“It’s not just her it’s us as well because she paces and cries when neighbours set off fireworks so it’s just us sitting nervously every single evening.

“She has a nervous breakdown every time,” she said, adding there was no need to sell private fireworks.

It is estimated that 45 percent of dogs show signs of fear when they hear fireworks, according to the RSPCA.

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Vet nurse of 30 years Ali Masters explained that lockdown has catalysed the problem because dogs were not introduced to busy roads or crowded, loud areas as often.

“I think it’s been made worse by Covid because a lot of lockdown puppies didn’t really get the socialisation that they need, but also the fact that they didn’t get introduced to noise,” said Ali, from Tidmarsh.

Reading Chronicle: Ali Masters' dogsAli Masters' dogs

She said that desensitisation is important for a dogs development and ability to withstand fireworks, pointing to her own dog as an example. 

“She’ll now sit completely still, quiet through fireworks night. When she was a pup she’d be tearing around, crying, hiding in corners, shaking, digging up holes because she was absolutely terrified.”