The RSPCA believes that people attending events with gunshots, explosions or other sudden spontaneous sounds should leave their dogs at home as dogs are easily frightened by loud noises and unfamiliar crowds.

In dogs, previous research has suggested that between 33% and 50% of dogs will show signs of fear and distress when exposed to sudden, loud noises. Dogs have highly sensitive hearing and with a much wider frequency range than humans. They can hear sounds up to four times quieter than we can and so noise levels that might be acceptable to us can be distressing and painful to dogs. Equally, sustained exposure to loud noises can risk hearing damage.

In addition, dogs are sensitive to the environmental pressure changes and vibrations that are caused by explosive devices and gunshots which can cause additional anxiety and stress. Therefore, an event with sudden loud explosions and gunshots is likely to be a very frightening and distressing experience for dogs.

Furthermore, unfamiliar environments or events with large crowds are likely to cause stress and anxiety for dogs. When dogs become distressed or frustrated they may start to exhibit unwanted behaviours, this can present a risk to the safety and welfare of the dog but also to people and other animals.

For the reasons above, the RSPCA would strongly advise that the public do not take dogs to events where they will be exposed to gunshots, explosions or similar. The society further advises dog owners not to leave dogs in the car whilst they are attending events such as this. Cars can get unbearably hot on a warm day and dogs can quickly suffer from heatstroke and may even die. Owners should therefore leave dogs at home and make provisions to ensure their dog is exercised, able to go to the toilet and fed in their absence.


“Recent research suggests that a fear of loud noises is very common in the dog population. In fact, almost half of dog owners reported their dog reacted to loud noises by showing signs of fear or anxiety. More research is needed in this area. But these findings are pretty worrying for the welfare of our dogs. It means that potentially five million dogs in the UK are worried by noises they hear.

Three loud and unpredictable noises dogs are most afraid of are:

• Fireworks
• Thunderstorms
• Gunshots

Some dogs may show subtle signs they are scared. This might be being very clingy with you, their ears going back, not eating or taking treats as well as salivating or licking lips.

While others may try to clamber inside cupboards, hide under beds, run from room to room, tremble, shake or go to the toilet inside. When dogs hear loud noises outside, they can run away in panic. This could potentially be across roads or into other dangerous situations.

These noises that seem to come out of nowhere are incredibly distressing for your pooch.”

We have an article on our website which you would of course be very welcome to signpost people towards:

The information in here can be used and may help people understand why events such as these may not be suitable for their dogs, especially as gunshots are specifically mentioned as one of the loud and unpredictable noises that dogs are most afraid of.

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