With over 7.3 million dogs being kept as pets across the UK, our canine friends are the most popular choice when it comes to seeking furry companionship. Unfortunately, this can equate to a lot of noise, as not only is barking a natural behaviour, but it is also a trait that is welcomed by people who wish to protect the security of their home.

However, when barking becomes excessive or takes place during anti-social hours, it can cause a disturbance for others - especially close neighbours. If you are suffering from the effects of such a nuisance, the Complaints Factory offers practical advice on how to complain about noisy dogs.

It is worth considering the root of the problem before taking action. If you believe the animal to be howling or whining as a result of pain, abuse or neglect then you will need to contact the RSPCA as soon as possible. However, if in the more likely case that the animal is bored, excited or just lonely, then the first step towards solving the issue would be to speak to its owner.

There is every chance that they may be unaware of the level of noise that the dog is creating, as the majority of barking takes place when the owners are not at home. A friendly, non-aggressive stance is highly recommendable at this point in the proceedings - neighbourly disputes are all too common and can have a negative effect on your day-to-day life. It would be helpful to keep a diary of the noise instances so that you can illustrate the extent of the problem to the owner.

If you are worried about how to complain about noisy dogs to your neighbour in person, then you could take the option of writing a letter instead. Should the problem fail to be resolved, or if you are lacking in confidence to make personal contact, your local council can provide you with a mediation service. A mediator is a trained professional who aims to settle disputes by acting as an impartial arbitrator between the parties concerned, and it is likely that he or she will arrange a face-to-face meeting between you and the dog owner.

Further options are available when it comes to deciding how to complain about noisy dogs. Dog wardens may also be able to help with the problem by writing to the owners, providing that you are able to provide a log of the disturbances that proves the barking or howling to be excessive.

Your council also has a duty to look into any problem caused by noise that is considered to be a statutory nuisance. Therefore, any serious instances that remain unresolved should be reported to the environmental health department, who have the power to serve an abatement order in severe cases. The dog's owner would then have a legal obligation to take steps towards reducing the noise disturbance, and could be fined £5000 if convicted of failure to comply.

About Author / Additional Info:
Paul Lewis writes for and manages the UK consumer advice and review site, http://www.complaintsfactory.co.uk