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Helping your dog cope with fireworks

Fireworks can be distressing for dogs.

Here's some advice from Dogs Trust to help your dog cope.

Noise-related fear is very common for our four-legged friends of all ages and can have significant impact on their wellbeing. Almost half (49%) of owners reported their dogs showing signs of fear or anxiety in response to loud, unpredictable noises like fireworks, thunderstorms and bangs.

There are lots of things you can do to help them cope.

How do I know if my dog is scared of fireworks?

There are lots of different ways your dog may respond to fireworks. Some may be more obvious signs they are scared, some may be more subtle signs of worry or ways of coping.

These could include:

  • hiding

  • trying to escape

  • whining or barking

  • a change in their toileting habits

  • seeking reassurance from you or being clingy

  • being put off their food

  • pacing around

  • drooling

  • shaking

  • licking their lips.

How can I help my dog?

If your dog shows signs of being scared of fireworks or loud noises, talk to your vet as soon as possible. They can check if there are any medical problems contributing to your dog’s fear of noises. Your vet can also refer you to a clinical behaviourist and give advice on additional treatments like medication. If it’s right for your dog, medication can be extremely useful for noise fear as it can help dogs cope during fireworks and stop their fear escalating after each event. Read our advice on finding a qualified behaviourist.

Unfortunately for our dogs, fireworks are common throughout the autumn and winter months in the UK. One of the best ways to support your dog during this period is to have a plan in place ahead of time. Whether your dog has previously shown fear of fireworks or not, you and they will still benefit from planning ahead so you can limit surprises, make arrangements so your dog isn’t left alone, and plan ways to help your dog cope.

Dogs respond to fireworks in a range of different ways, and how you can help them cope will depend on your dog. For some dogs this will involve providing them with places to hide, for others it may mean providing additional attention or distractions such as games. Follow our guides below for more advice on getting prepared for fireworks.

Top tips:

  • Plan ahead so you and your dog are ready.

  • Stay in with your dog, or have someone with them that they know well.

  • Get to know how your dog reacts to fireworks and support them in the best way for them.


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