Coping with Fear of Fireworks

Keep Pets Happy This Firework Season
60% of dogs demonstrate a fear of fireworks:

Fear of fireworks is a very common problem for pets, but thankfully there are several steps you can take to help keep them calm, and with just a couple of weeks to go, now is the time to start. Head vet Ian Hemsley offers some sound advice to help your dogs feel calm and secure this firework season.  Plus, watch the video for additional advice.

Spot the Signs

If your dog has any of these reactions to loud noises they may need help to cope with their fear of fireworks

  • Trembling and shaking
  • Clinging to owners
  • Barking excessively
  • Cowering and hiding behind furniture
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Pacing and panting
  • Refusing to eat


     1Create a den for your dog

Make a den or hiding place as far away from windows as possible. Covering it with blankets will make your dog feel more secure and muffle the sound of the fireworks.

Start encouraging your dog to use the den a couple of weeks before bonfire night. Fill it with his own blankets and use treats and toys to encourage him to use it often.

You can increase your dog’s feeling of security by spraying the blankets with Adaptil spray – remember to wait 15 minutes after using the spray before your dog uses the den. (image of happy dog outside, autumn leaves)

     2. Use an Adaptil Diffuser

Increase your dog's feeling of security by plugging in an Adaptil diffuser. If possible start using the diffuser a couple of weeks before fireworks are expected. Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the natural comforting pheromone released by a mother dog to reassure her puppies and it has a calming effect on dogs in all kinds of stressful situations. (image of Adaptil diffuser)

3.  Exercise before it gets dark
In the run up to Bonfire Night walk your dog when it is still light. This reduces the risk of encountering any ‘practice’ fireworks and your dog becoming worried. An Adaptil collar provides the same security as a diffuser but as they are worn by the dog they help them feel secure when out of the home as well. Ideally start to use an Adaptil collar 2 weeks in advance. (image of Adaptil collar)
Being scared can cause pets to run off so now is a good time to think about having your pet microchipped. You can make an appointment at any of our surgeries and all microchipped pets will receive 4 weeks free pet insurance. Contact us to make an appointment

4.  Make a vet appointment

Adaptil will help keep most dogs calm at Bonfire night without the need for any medication. However, if your dog has a severe phobia there are very effective prescription medicines available to help. These medicines can only be prescribed at a vet consultation so it’s a good idea to book an appointment early to make it a less stressful experience for both of you. Call any of our surgeries or contact us to request a call back.



1.  Provide distractions
Provide distractions such as new toys or chews while fireworks are happening. Draw the curtains, put on the TV or play music to help mask the sound of the fireworks.

2.  Use Adaptil
Check that your Adaptil diffuser is plugged in and if using Adaptil spray apply it to the blankets.

3.  Don’t leave dogs alone
Stay in the room with your dog as they’ll feel comforted by your presence.

4.  Don’t make a fuss over them
It’s very tempting to cuddle and fuss over a frightened dog but this will only reinforce their fear. Try to ignore their fearful behaviour and act as if nothing is wrong. Wait until the fireworks have stopped and your dog is acting relaxed then make a big fuss of them.

5.  Don’t punish your dog
Remember that this fearful behaviour is beyond your dog’s control and punishing him will make it worse.

Fear of fireworks doesn’t go away on its own and if left untreated it can lead to more serious behaviour problems, but following these simple steps will help your dog cope.

If you have any concerns please contact any of our vets or nurses for free advice.