A dog that was terrified of fireworks collapsed and died at his home on Bonfire Night.

The poor mutt was quite literally 'scared to death', according to his owner, with his family left heartbroken.

Dexter, owned by Judith and Malcolm Watson, had been so distressed by fireworks around their home that he was shaking and cowering.

He had been startled by a loud bang at 6pm which caused him to run out of the room and collapsed in the bathroom.

Judith, who found him, told TeessideLive: "I thought he was just in there trembling at first but he was laid flat out on the floor.

"Then I realised he had gone. I don't know exactly where dogs' hearts are but I tried pressing his chest and blowing into his mouth.

"But it was so quick and there was nothing I could do to bring him back."

Dexter was a much-loved family dog and he would usually walk with Malcolm, 67, to the fish and chip shop where he would get a treat of a sausage.

On that Friday, he was kept inside as it was Bonfire Night and, like many pets, Dexter was nervous of loud noises.

Judith called Malcolm to come home after she found Dexter unconscious.

"I was screaming and shouting Dexter's name over and over. I was just hugging the dog and crying for a long time," Judith said.

"At the time I really wanted to hit something. There was that almighty bang then another one came when he had already gone.

"It did die down eventually. And it's all finished now – people have had their so-called fun but our whole lives have changed.

"He still had a lot of life left, it's so unfair and so senseless."

Dexter, a Labrador-Staffie cross, initially belonged to the couple's son Michael but didn't get on with his other dog so he came to live with Judith and Malcolm.

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He was adored by the couple's two-year-old granddaughter, Liliah-Mae, who was best friends with Dexter.

"My son had to try and explain to her he's gone," Judith said.

"She came in and said 'Dexter's gone' and held her arms out to my husband. She kept mentioning him during the day and even when we got her home she asked about him again and we had to say 'no, he's not here'."

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"So many things are going to change for us. We have lost a member of our family," she said.

An RSPCA study they found that 62% of dogs, 54% of cats and 55% of horses suffer from stress during fireworks.

Some people believe unorganised displays should be banned due to distress it causes some animals as well as people who suffer with certain conditions such as PTSD or autism.

A petition calling for an urgent review of fireworks regulations has attracted 828,000 signatures.

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