Are Dogs Really Afraid of Fireworks? Learn The Truth

Dog facing fireworks

Are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks?

The short answer is, yes. The vast majority are, but it is the sounds that the dogs are afraid of. These are not sounds they are used to. Typically, however, the fear of fireworks first appears when dogs are young.  Some dog breeds are far more sensitive to the commotion at New Year's than others.

Examples of these are:

  • Gun dogs like retrievers and spaniels
  • Herding dogs like Border Collies
  • Terriers like Jack Russell
  • Great Danes

Out of pure instinct, these dogs are aroused by sounds and  as a result, you sometimes see dogs attacking fireworks, which is inappropriate.

For dogs, it's like bomb sounds 

Imagine hearing the sound of a bomb without prior warning and without knowing what the consequences of this bomb are - that's how dogs feel. Humans can hear anything between 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, while dogs can typically hear anything from 40 Hz to 60,000 Hz!

The sounds from New Year's gunpowder are not part of the dog's normal sound range, and they therefore do not understand it. The bangs and flashes of light in the air remind the dog of potential danger, and therefore it becomes anxious and/or confused.

How do you know if your dog or cat is afraid of fireworks?

If your dog/cat experiences one or more of these symptoms, it may be a sign that your dog/cat is anxious.

In dogs:

  • Unrest
  • Howls
  • Drools
  • Shakes
  • Pisses itself
  • Trying to get away
  • Hiding, crawling under tables, beds, chairs etc.

    In cats:

    • Shakes
    • Pisses itself
    • Loses appetite
    • Hiding, crawling under tables, beds, chairs etc..

      How do I best protect the pet on New Year's Eve?

      1.Train your dog!

      According to dog psychologist Ulla Duchwaider from Lulu's Dog Psychology, the more noise the dog experiences indoors, the less anxious it becomes about the noise outside. She recommends that you train together with the dog, that noise can be FUN! So she says that when the dog shows anxiety about fireworks: turn on lights, make noise, clap your hands or play cheers with it, so that it understands that you think noise is fun. Remove the dog from where it hides, possibly have a leash on it at all times (good for all training), so you don't have to run around after the dog, or move furniture to get it to you. Do not touch the dog. It may think that it is praise for its anxiety. When it is calm, give treats or whatever makes the dog happy and diverts it from anxiety. When it is anxious, it does NOT accept treats or anything else.

      On the day itself, if you are not at home:

      The best will be if you are at home with your pet. This will make your dog much more comfortable. In this way, it also feels that there is no danger on the way and everyone happily welcomes the new year! But if you don't have the opportunity to be with your pet, this would be a good solution: keep the dog in a room where there is less noise from fireworks, and turn on the television . That way, it gets through the New Year more easily without being scared out of its wits. BUT we highly recommend that you are with your pet on New Year's Eve.

      If your pet is very anxious about the fireworks, you can give him something to relieve stress.

      2. Make sure your dog or cat has a collar with an ID name tag!

      Even if you have a quiet New Year at home and don't plan on letting your pets outside, make sure your pet has a collar with an ID or dog tag on it.

      The fastest way to get your pet back is to get this information on a name tag so that the person who finds your pet can quickly give you a call, rather than having to take the pet to a vet and wait until after the holidays, in the case that your pet is tagged with a chip..

      Is there anything else I can do?

      Here are some tips:

      Go for a very long walk with the dog so that it is well tired in the evening or use some throwing toys so that the dog gets plenty of exercise. If possible, go for a walk twice, but the last time must be before midnight, because right after, the fireworks really start.

      For cats: Do not let the cats out on the 31st, all day, even if they are used to it - they can panic with all the noises, which we do not want for our little four-legged friend.

      Give both the dogs and the cats something delicious to eat so that they are full and tired before the fireworks start. Give it their favorite toy. A piece of your clothes or your unwashed shoes is also a really good idea - your scent will have a calming effect.

      Turn on the television and put on, for example, a children's cartoon, this can also be useful in this situation.

      View the best products for anxiety


      We think you'll like this