Dogs Trust

New Year's Eve Fireworks Advice

Fireworks are becoming more common on New Year’s Eve, so we have some simple advice to help make the evening less stressful for your dog(s):

Although most fireworks go off at midnight, some might start earlier in the evening so before the fireworks begin:

  • Walk your dog before it gets dark to avoid fireworks and flashing lights.
  • Provide a safe hiding place for your dog indoors and close the curtains as many dogs are afraid of the flashing lights from fireworks, not just the noise they make.
  • Play soothing music on your TV or radio to drown out scary noises.
  • Do not leave your dog alone outdoors as scared dogs can make desperate attempts to escape and there is the danger of him being injured.
  • Be extra careful when opening the door as your dog may escape; if possible, try to ensure there is another closed door between your dog and your front door. 
  • Make sure that your dog is wearing a collar and an ID tag and that his microchip details are up to date via www.fido.ie in case he escapes.

During the fireworks:

  • Don’t punish a dog for cowering or reacting to the fireworks as this will intensify his fear. Try to remain calm and relaxed as dogs are very in tune to their owner’s body language and you being calm can be a comfort to your dog in itself.
  • Please don’t leave your dog alone in the house during fireworks – he may panic, and this could result in an injury.
  • Keep your dog busy – play games or enjoy some reward-based training to keep their mind off the noises.  However, if he just wants to hide away then don’t force him to come out of his hiding place, allow him to stay where he feels safe.
  • Be careful not to inadvertently reward your dog for reacting to noise. It is better to act as if there’s nothing to worry about. Remember, if your dog comes to you for comfort, please don’t ignore him - very gently stroke him along his flanks and his ears as this may help to calm him.

After the fireworks:

  • If your dog does react badly to fireworks please see the Sounds Scary desensitisation programme here to help your dog cope more easily next time.  As these programmes generally take several weeks or even months to complete, they are something that must be carefully planned.  

We hope you and your furry friends have a safe and Happy New Year!