DOG owners have been invited to train their four-legged friends ahead of the fireworks season.

Nearly eight in ten (79%) dog owners in the south-east have revealed their pets are distressed by loud noises – and 14% have even had to sedate their dogs to calm them down, a recent survey has shown.

Dog owners in the region said their beloved pets become especially distressed during bonfire night or other firework displays.

The situation has become so bad for a fifth of south-east dog owners that they have taken their pets to the vet to be treated for their reaction to sudden noises, according to a survey of 2,000 dog owners for Adaptil by Atomik Research.

But now dog owners are urged to train their pets and teach them to cope with loud noises.

TV Vet Cat Henstridge, better known as Cat the Vet, said: “What many owners do not realise is that you can work with your dog outside of the fireworks season to help them overcome and manage their fear.

“This is called 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).”