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Helping your dog cope with fireworks (and other loud noises!)

Firework night is nearly here. Like lots of other people, you probably enjoy the excitement of fireworks. However, your dog might feel very differently. Nearly half of all dogs in the UK are thought to be scared of fireworks. The unpredictable loud bangs, flashing lights and smoky smells that they cause can be frightening for your dog, who probably doesn’t understand that fireworks won’t hurt them.

It’s also important to remember that as well as having a better sense of smell than you, your dog’s hearing is better too. In fact, dogs can hear things four times further away than we can. This means that something that is just loud to us could be painfully loud to your dog.

How to tell if your dog is scared of fireworks

Since they can’t talk, how do you know if your dog is scared of fireworks? There are usually a few signs. These include:

  • Panting heavily

  • Pacing up and down

  • Shaking/trembling

  • Hiding, perhaps under tables or in a corner of the room

  • Whimpering, crying or making other distressed sounds

  • Chewing and clawing things

  • Weeing or pooping on the floor

Remember that every dog is different, and some hide how scared they are better than others.

How to prepare your dog for firework night

The good news is that there are things that you can do to help prepare your dog for firework night and reduce their fear when the fireworks start. Over time, your dog may even learn not to be frightened of fireworks at all.

  • Take your dog for their walk well before the fireworks start. Being outside during fireworks is a huge no-no. Make sure you take your dog for their walk beforehand, and even then, keep them on the leash. This will prevent them from running away should they become frightened.

  • Create a safe space in your home for your dog. Ideally, choose a room without any windows so that they can’t see flashing lights. Glass doesn’t offer as much protection against sound either. Set up their bed or blanket, favourite toy and access to food and water.

  • Don’t go out and leave your dog at home unless you absolutely have to. Fireworks are scary enough for some animals without knowing that their humans have left them alone. Stay home and offer your dog lots of love and attention to help them feel safe.

  • Help your dog get used to loud sounds. Dogs Trust have a free download called Sounds Scary, which helps dogs safely learn to deal with loud sounds, including traffic and fireworks.

  • We also recommend that you make sure your dog‘s microchip is up to date with your name, address and telephone number. Sometimes scared dogs try and run away, and if this happens, being microchipped can help them be returned to you.

For more helpful tips on taking care of your dog, sign up to the Zara DogDog Club today!

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