Dogs Trust

We launch Firework Dog Code to help our four-legged friends this 5th November

As Fireworks season ramps up, we are launching a new firework dog safety campaign to urge the public to take action - and call for a fireworks reform - to help our four-legged friends this 5th November. This comes after our latest survey* found that...

Over half of the British Public think fireworks should be limited to public displays only to limit potential distress to animals, and over a third dislike fireworks due to their pets being scared. Out of the people surveyed, almost three-quarters agreed that fireworks should be restricted to certain times of year only. Current law states that anyone over the age of 18 can legally buy fireworks and set them off at any time of the year from 7am-11pm. Two-thirds of people would also support increasing the legal age people can buy fireworks from 18 to 21.

What is The Firework Dog Code?

The Firework Dog Code initiative offers guidance that both dog owners and non-dog owners can follow to help make a huge difference to the welfare of the nation's dogs. By asking members of the public to share the infographic (download below), with the hashtag #FireworkDogCode, we hope this new campaign will not only increase awareness amongst dog owners, but also reach people having their own displays, who may not be aware of the extreme distress fireworks cause to dogs.

Published data** suggests that 49% of dogs show signs of fear of loud noises including Fireworks. Hiding, shaking, cowering and even running away are all behaviours that frightened dogs have exhibited to their owners during fireworks, according to the survey.

Dr Rachel Casey, Director of Canine Behaviour and Research, explains,

"Many of us enjoy the experience of fireworks, especially when it comes to traditional Guy Fawkes Night celebrations on 5th November, but for our dogs it's often a terrifying and confusing experience. Dogs have approximately four times more sensitive hearing than humans, and can hear much higher frequency sounds than we can - so just imagine how loud the whizz, pop and bang of fireworks can be for a dog.

"Fireworks tend to be sudden, unpredictable and bright. This combination of effects can often have a profoundly negative and in many cases, lasting impact on dogs. We would urge anyone thinking of putting on a fireworks display to consider their four-legged friends and follow our Firework Dog Code to help all dogs have a safe and happy 5th November."

Dog owner Kat Weidman says of the initiative,

"My dog Hetty is terribly affected by fireworks and has been all her life. Unlike most dogs she doesn't try and hide but tries to fling herself at the window, barking and getting very stressed and panting. It's horrendous to witness her suffering. I hope as many people as possible will sign the Firework Dog Code to help dogs like Hetty."

How can I sign up?

  1. Try to go out to organised displays only
  2. If you do hold your own display, let your neighbours know well in advance
  3. Limit your display to 30 mins
  4. Opt for quieter, lower decibel fireworks
  5. If you have a dog, help him feel safe with our handy tips

Share the #FireworkDogCode with your friends!

Firework Dog Code PNG 220 KB
Download


*
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2006 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th - 13th April 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
** 49% of dogs show some behavioural signs of fears to loud noises such as fireworks. Emily J. Blackwell, John W.S. Bradshaw, Rachel A. Casey , Fear responses to noises in domestic dogs: Prevalence, risk factors and co-occurrence with other fear related behaviour. http://www.appliedanimalbehaviour.com/article/S0168-1591(12)00367-X/abstract

Support your four-legged friend during fireworks season with our advice