Most vulnerable breeds of dog on Bonfire Night

Bichon Frises Experience the Most Stress from Fireworks

As we approach winter, there are a few festivities along the way, including Bonfire Night, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. These celebrations often have fireworks, resulting in loud noises and bright colours as we make the most of the dark nights.

The loud bangs and flashes may follow with ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as we stand in our gardens and watch while enjoying a hot chocolate. However, fireworks aren’t enjoyed by all and can be incredibly stressful for our four-legged friends.

The dogs feeling the most impact

Different breeds of dogs have different temperaments. For example, a German Shepherd’s intelligence makes them great police dogs, while Golden Retrievers are the ideal family dog due to their gentle nature. Although each dog is unique, there are some wider characteristics of each breed that can give us a good idea of their likely reaction to fireworks.

Butternut Box has conducted some research, probing dog owners to find out how fireworks made their dogs react, if relaxing methods worked, and the most common displays of distress.

According to the data, the breeds that showed the most fear of fireworks were Bichon Frise, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Border Collie, with 100% of all three breeds in the data becoming stressed by fireworks. This was followed by crossbreeds with 67%, and Cockapoo with 60%.

The most common displays of distress were shaking (32.7%), hiding (27.3%), barking (25.5%), crying (12.4%), pacing (10.9%), running away (9.1%), becoming needy (7.8%), cowering (5.5%), and panting and drooling (3.6%). Owners reported additional reactions from their dogs, with 1.8% reporting their dogs ripping toys apart, eating, losing appetite, or soiling themselves as a result of fireworks.

The survey also found that the best ways to soothe our beloved pets is to stroke them (48%), feed them treats (30%), play music (13%), take them on a walk (6%), and turn up the volume of the television (3%). Surprisingly, only 25% reported that having more than one dog minimised the stress experienced from fireworks.

Public opinion on fireworks

There is debate on whether fireworks should be banned after a petition gained over 200,000 signatures in less than two weeks last year. With complaints rising about the dangerous effects of fireworks on our beloved pets, including pet owners reporting heart attacks and unusual behaviour including aggression, there is continual back and forth on the topic.

Although each dog is different and not all will have an adverse reaction to fireworks, it’s important that we create a safe and happy environment for our pets. If your dog is prone to becoming unsettled upon hearing fireworks, there are a number of steps you can take, including:

● Walk them during the day so fireworks won’t be let off when you’re outside
● Close all the windows and curtains to try to muffle the sound of fireworks
● Put on the television or some music to create background noise
● Create some hiding places for your dog to feel safe
● Stay with your dog and don’t leave them alone.


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