Scout on the sofa
Scout on the sofa


As we say goodbye to 2023 and welcome 2024, many of us will see in the new year with celebrations. Often these events will involve loud or unexpected noises such as fireworks, which can be frightening for many dogs.

For an owner, seeing your best friend distressed can be upsetting. Dogs Trust have put together a useful guide on how to tell if fireworks are negatively impacting your dog, and what you can do about it.


How can I tell if my dog fears fireworks?

Here are some of the signs that your dog might be fearful or stressed during fireworks:

  • Whining or barking: your dog may voice their distress through whining, whimpering, barking, growling, or crying.
  • Clinginess: they may seek comfort by jumping up, staying close, or by seeking attention.
  • Excessive panting or drooling: anxiety can lead to increased panting, drooling, or lip-licking.
  • Holding their tail down between their legs.
  • Hiding: they might try to find a safe or secluded spot to hide, like under furniture or in a closet.
  • Trying to escape: in extreme cases, your dog may attempt to escape to get away from the noise.
  • Trembling or shaking: your dog may visibly shake or tremble when fireworks are going off.
  • Pacing or restlessness: they may become agitated and constantly move around.
  • Loss of appetite: fear can cause a loss of interest in food, so they may not want to eat.
  • Dilated pupils: your dog’s eyes may appear wider than usual due to stress.


What to do on days you expect fireworks

  • Stay with your dog. Your pooch could panic if left alone. Having you or someone they know and trust for company will help them relax.
  • Don’t go out after dark. Make sure you’re cosy inside and settled well before any fireworks start. Never force your dog outside during fireworks.
  • Give your dog any prescribed medication before fireworks start.
  • Check your house and garden are escape-proof. Your dog could try to run away if they’re scared so check your doors, windows and fences are secure.


What to do during fireworks

  • Block out flashes and bangs. Close any windows or curtains and turn the lights on. Put on music or the TV to help disguise the noise.
  • Recognise the needs of your individual dog and let them choose:
  • If your dog wants to hide, let them stay where they feel safe.
  • If they seek reassurance, calmly give them attention and comfort. Research shows that ignoring them won’t help.
  • If your dog doesn’t seem worried, then it’s best to keep them busy with their favourite toys or activities so they don’t become anxious.
  • Try to stay calm and relaxed yourself. Your dog will pick up on how you’re feeling, so do your best to relax.
  • If your dog makes a mess by accident, avoid telling them off as this might make them feel more scared.


After fireworks

In the days after fireworks, return to your normal routine to help your dog settle down. Fireworks will likely occur on more than one night. So, understanding what works for your canine companion will help you support them through the entire fireworks season.

And remember, if your dog showed signs of fear or anxiety during fireworks, make sure to speak to your vet. They may refer you to a clinical behaviourist who can create a tailored plan to support you and your best pal through it next time.

No owner wants to see their beloved pet frightened by fireworks. But the best way to deal with this is to prepare ahead.

Read more on preventative measures you can take to help your dog for the next time fireworks happen here – 


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