Has someone elses fireworks cost me my dog?

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  • Has someone elses fireworks cost me my dog?
  • barkm

    So, I’m just back from A&E after my Greyhound bit my youngest son after some 6 hours of sheer terror from endless fireworks in our neighbourhood.

    We’ve had him about a year and a half, but we’ve only been here at this house 6 months. We used to live out in the countryside and have never encountered fireworks nearby before, and in all honesty I have never encountered such a constant amount of fireworks in all my life, it has been every night for a couple of weeks now, but tonight was just ridiculous. A nuisance for us alone, but it has been absolute hell for the dog.

    Our Greyhound is an ex-racer and has before now never shown any signs of aggression. It is the most placid and timid thing.

    We spent hours trying to calm him, and we thought we were winning and the fireworks were dying out, when it suddenly attacked my youngest and bit him in the face.
    Deep puncture wound in neck and chin, and damage to his lip. Applied some basic first aid and went to A&E, thankfully it was remarkably quiet for a Saturday. Depressingly we were one of several other almost identical instances of dog bites from terrified dogs.

    My boy will be fine, but he is now utterly petrified of the dog and I fear his relationship with the dog is now changed forever. My wife is mortified, the dog has always been my responsibility.

    I have always had a line that will not be crossed with dogs, and that is attacks/aggression towards any of my family.
    We had a problem with another dog 15 years ago and it had to go because of aggressive behaviour when we had a baby, and it was heart wrenching. This was our first since then, and I cannot believe we are now here again.

    It feels desperately unfair, I’m angry and depressed. This is a huge dilemma for me, but I know deep down I’m going to lose my dog, and it brings a tear to the eye to even think about it.

    I’ll ring the Greyhound Trust on Monday for some advice, but I know its hopeless.

    So very sad. Sorry, not looking for answers, just sharing I guess.

    I detest fireworks deeply, I have never been a fan. I think it’s madness we allow people to purchase them. This isn’t 1 night a year, it has been 2 miserable weeks for us, culminating in a dog almost certainly losing his home.

    Dogs bite, shit and bark, none of which are good qualities. All dogs have the potential to attack, if it wasn’t fireworks it would have been something else.

    I hope your sons ok, that’s the most important bit here.


    when I was a kid (and to this day), My dad always put the dog in a quiet room and drew the curtains when fireworks were going off all around and left it there for a while. Which always worked. When I was about 8 though my parents had a slightly schizo cocker spaniel that went apeshit at me cos I gave it a “cuddle” – it got taken away and put down – I still have the scars on my head and hands. It must’ve been terrible for my dad at the time, and the family I suppose, but I was just a kid. That episode had nothing to do with fireworks though.

    The bit where you say your kid is utterly terrified of the dog. that’ll pass. I have obviously been there myself in a very similar situation aged 8. our dog got put down unfortunately. But we got a new one and I love dogs to this very day – got the scars to prove it 😀


    The main thing your son is ok, the pain you are feeling probably isn’t nearly as bad as what your son is feeling.

    Premier Icon JoeG

    If your dog is normally not at all aggressive and it took a large and prolonged amount of fireworks for this to happen, I wouldn’t be writing it off so quickly. It sounds like it is really a good dog, and putting it down or giving it away may be a knee jerk reaction that you’d regret later. I have no doubt that you will be able to get your child to get over the fear of the dog, and that they could once again have a good relationship. Kids heal fast and are resilient too.

    Consult a vet and a dog behavior expert. There are things like this that you can buy to calm them down. I’ve used the cat version, and it can work wonders when mixing up animals while away on vacation. Some people swear by some sort of calming jacket for ther dog. And if it was a racing dog, if in doubt put a muzzle on, it should be very used to one. And maybe they’ll be able to proscribe some tranquilizers or sedatives could be to calm it; it seems to me like it may be a once a year event, not every day.

    OP – I believe that you and your dog still have a good chance if you want to put the effort into it. HTH.

    Oh – and I still have the cat that bit me the worst ever. She was all of 5 lbs; had diarrhea. Took her to the vet, vet tech goes to take temp. She wanted to get another tech to hold the cat. I said “she only weighs 5 lbs, what can happen.” So tech lifts tail, shoves in thermometer, cat shrieks like it is impaled on a stick, bites my hand between thumb and index finger. I *might* have said a swear word or twelve. If my hand was a mouse, she would have bit it in two. 4 deep puncture wounds bleeding good, the hand was bruised for 10 days +! Cat jumped down on floor, under the table and was perfectly calm for the rest of the visit.


    Very difficult one, personally, if it’s the first time the dog has gone nuts with exceptional circumstances (freworks etc) I’d not condemn it to death and give it a chance and think about my own control of the dog. IT’s hard to say without knowing your specific situation. I am speaking specifically from the point of view of an 8 year old that got attacked by a family dog that got put down! It’s very raw at the mo I guess.


    I’ve typed three different posts so far! As a dog lover but father of two I find this post very hard to comment on!!


    but also, if you know dogs go nuts at fireworks, why wasn’t the dog contained? How much is it your own responsibility? That’s obviously a difficult question and all down to circumstances etc…


    if it wasn’t fireworks it would have been something else


    Utter nonsense. This sounds like an incident brought on by extreme stress. I don’t have kids but I would keep an eye on the dog for a couple of weeks. If there are no other problems about pecking order in the house then even little things like having your boy be responsible for feeding the dog can help.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    yep an extreme reaction to something different and absolutely terrifying. Keep an eye on him and look into some other methods of keeping him calm for the next few nights as the Blitz is renacted in the streets.

    Subject me to 6 hours of noise & light abuse and I would probably bite someone.


    Its alright saying keep an eye on him for a few weeks but what about the poor child thats had had his face bit for no reason !!

    imagine if you were him, you are not going to want to be in the same room as that dog now no matter what people say about it being because he was stressed!!!!

    Im sorry but I know what I would do ( and have done if you look at my profile)


    Give the dog some tranquillisers during firework season. See your vet.


    Im gutted for you, not willing to offer any advice as I think you know what needs done already.

    We got a springer from a springer rescue, mistakenly on 25th October 5 years ago. The first bonfire night with us was horrendous, shaking, panting, howling incessant barking. Very aggressive behaviour towards me as I tried to help him. It was very stressful. A few days later and it was all gone back to normal. Except for his fear of the rain. Turns out that this was also due to thunder which he thought was fireworks.

    We tried everything including tranquilisers which were horrible to see him wasted.

    Anyway we had a baby in January 2011, 5th Nov comes round and nothing he is asleep on the sofa not a care in the world. We thought it may be a one off but then last night the same, totally different dog. Upside down on sofa all night.

    Same house, only difference is our daughter. We were wondering if the pack dynamics have changed and he no longer sees himself top of the pack defending us. He now knows its me & wife and daughter in charge round here.

    IMO and havering had such stressful problems for 3 years that the public sale of them should be banned, or at least at the hell out I them so nobody can buy them. Public displays can stay.

    Ouch! Sorry to hear this….

    Your lad will heal. He might even sport some kewl ‘dueling scars’.

    Your poor dog on the other hand. Never shown an agression….desrves a second chance in my book, but you struggle to convince the wife.

    Like globalti says. You can get tranquilisers from the vet. Though keep them on downers for two-weeks is a big ask.

    Fingers crossed for you here.


    I’d keep the dog, particularly given your kid is now scared of him. Take the dog away and he might never get over that; give the dog a second chance and he’ll soon recover. A muzzle might be a good idea for the first few days or so.

    Next time you anticipate fireworks lock the dog up in an interior room, curtains closed and lights off. Ideally with a bed or similar to hide under.

    Premier Icon boxelder

    firework season


    OP is correct – shouldn’t be allowed. Dangerous nuisance.

    Premier Icon Onzadog

    How does your lad feel about the dog being put down or returned to the rescue? He might be nervous of the dog right now but it’s only just happened. He could be mortified if he was the reason the dog was destroyed. Plus, long term, getting rid of the dog is more likely to perpetuate that fear of dogs.

    I’m with you on the fireworks thing though. The wife is currently on “holiday” with the dog to avoid the worst of it. I thought bonfire night was on the 5th November, not two bloody weeks either side.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    boxelder – Member
    firework season

    Yep unfortunately despite people being unable to afford food and special brew they still find the money to try and take the moon down with pyrotechnics for about a week. The bigger & chavier the place the worse as far as I can tell. Round Liverpool it made the intro to Saving Private Ryan look amateur. 6-7hrs of 360 degree explosions on the 5th along with the Friday & Saturday night.

    There should be a written exam to buy fireworks including what the 5th of November actually signifies.

    My Lurcher is terrified of fireworks too. Sounds like a shit situation. We could all come out with what if’s and things you could have done but it doesnt really help. The dog sounds like it doesnt need putting down but does need rehoming imo. Really sorry for you.

    Premier Icon northshoreniall

    That sounds shit mate. I was mauled by neighbours gun dog as a kid, but got over fear of dogs as we had some ourselves so think exposure after it helped. I’m writing this from under a collie who has come up for his mornin cuddle – have had to counse/ try to calm him every night for last week due to muppets and their bang sticks.
    No point To my post really except yourkid will get over it, and it’s fun making stories about sharks attack scars latter in life. Hope works out for you, sure vet/ greyhound trust will be able offer better advice than anything I can add.


    My first dog was a rescue. The most placid and caring dog we could of hoped for but bonfire night week turned her bat sh*t crazy and we had to heavily sedate her for. All other dogs I’ve had have been from pups. And always made a conscious decision to take them out and play with them when young during thunder storms / fireworks and none of them developed a fear of fireworks. Perhaps we were just lucky.

    Personally there is always going to be an element of the unknown with an dog you’ve not owned all it’s life. And for me the dog, no matter what, is bottom of the pack. If it steps out of line then I would seriously consider all options. If it harmed any of my family then I wouldn’t take another risk.

    Premier Icon Woody

    What joeG said above. Under those circumstances the dog deserves another chance and you’ll be better prepared next time.

    I also agree that fireworks should not be sold to the public. I’m amazed its still allowed.

    Mr Trump

    I am a dog lover but saw the potential for my dog to bite my two young sons, I made the very hard decision that the dog had to go. He went to a very loving home, it was sad but I have never regreted the decision.

    Mrs Toast

    If your son can’t cope with dog any more, rehoming is probably the best option. The Dogs Trust will take on bitey dogs and find them new homes – they let potential owners know about the dogs history, and won’t rehome them with children.

    If your son can forgive the dog, you might find some useful advice here about dealing with fireworks:


    Sorry to hear about it though, sounds like a horrible situation for you, your son and the dog. 🙁 hope it all works out.

    Premier Icon cloudnine

    Every dog is different.. If it were mine id give him a 2nd chance as i know how utterly terrified they can be of the bangs from fireworks. Muzzle and tranquillisers around 5th Nov. Id see it as my responsibility to take care of the dog no matter what.. providing your son regains his confidence back with the dog. Get some professional help to deal with it and maybe think about getting him a cage.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    Wait until Monday when you’ve spoken to the Greyhound trust. Vet and poss a dog behaviour specialist. They may have alternive suggestions for both (1) the effect of fireworks and (2) the effect on your son.

    I was only bitten once by a family dog as a child, though not bad enough to require medical attention. We did have two dogs wjose behaviour resulted in them being put down after they turned on a newly arrived puppy and killed it. Not nice.

    I grew up in a rural area, and fireworks weren’t too much of an issue. Nonethless, around that time my mother would always use some “spare” (!) Valium of my grandmother and give a small amount to each dog.

    Hope it works out well for your family and the dog, whatever the ultimate decision. Good luck.

    PS I speak as someone who doesn’t own dogs – in spite of growing up with them, I have no desire to own one. So feel free to disregard anything I’ve said.


    It’s the fireworks that are the problem, not the dog. Funny enough dogs/wolves haven’t been exposed to fireworks on an evolutionary timescale 🙄

    Oh yeah dogs have a potential to do harm with their big teeth. So what about the thousands of kids who get mashed up by cars every year? I don’t see many dad of the year **** campaigning to ban the automobile…

    Premier Icon footflaps

    I don’t know anything about Dogs, but I’d get some professional advice before putting the dog down. Ideally we’d just put down idiots with fireworks and then there wouldn’t be this problem to deal with.


    How old is the kid?
    He is bound to be scared, you would be cautious.
    Give him time. don’t ditch the dog for one, out of character incident.


    Nasty situation, sorry to hear that. Fireworks are a bit of a menace – when I lived in Hyde Park in Leeds it was ridiculous. About 6 weeks of fireworks going off all the time, sometimes being out and about was like walking the gauntlet as people just let them off willy-nilly

    I even had some friends who had lit fireworks stuck through their letterbox. Luckily they had one of those cages to catch the mail.

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix

    your dog bit your son in the face and neck, regardless of the provocation your dog bit your son in the face and neck!

    bye bye doggy.

    hard as it is that’s how it has to be.

    Premier Icon PePPeR

    It’s a real shame for your whole family, my old terrier was very similar we always used to put her in a dark room on her own with a radio blaring away. If we went near her we were in danger of getting bitten too. We just knew that we had to leave her alone, trying to comfort her and caring for her during this time made it much worse. I do think we humanise our animals a little too much sometimes and a simple animal can’t understand this.

    I’d give him a second chance if your family will let you and perhaps seek some advice from an animal behaviourist.

    Fireworks should be banned from being on sale to the general public IMO. Half the cranks who buy them then set them off before & after Nov 5th wouldn’t have a clue what the date signifies anyway, when I were a lad (adopts West Yorkshire or Lancashire accent) you never saw a firework apart from then.
    All dogs have the potential to attack, if it wasn’t fireworks it would have been something else.
    Utter bo!!ox.

    Hope your lad gets over the episode OP, & that you keep the hound.

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    @barkm – very sorry to hear this story and big healing vibes to your son. In my view your action is clear, the dog has to go otherwise I think there is a material risk you son will feel you have chosen the dog over him.

    Unfortunately one of the problems of taking an older dog is you cannot know its prior experiences, you cannot really know its temprement. With the knowledge you now have you could treat the dog differently, eg just leave her locked in a as quiet a room as possible perhaps even go away for the weekend.

    We were advised to have our lab introduced to loud noises and fireworks, this came from a field sports expert, working dogs and are used to gunfire and our lab was introduced to it as a pup and it doesn’t bother her although we don’t get the sort of intensity you mention. When she hears the fireworks she tends to go outside for a look. You can try and work with the dog but I think that should be a new owners job armed with the knowledge of what has happened. Your job is working with your son to soften his now natural fear.


    Morning, thank you all for the responses, with such an extremely difficult situation I’m trying to field as many opinions as I possibly can.
    My son is 11, the dog is 4. My son had some sutures and is on anti-biotics. They try where possible to leave wounds from dog bites open due to risk of infection from the bite itself.

    We were awake until well beyond 3 talking about it, but no decisions have been made will work it through over next couple of days. whatever happens to the dog it has to go via Greyhound Trust, it’s in the re-homing contract, so they will be first point of call for some advice at the very least.

    We’re not blaming the dog, he just did what dogs have a tendency to do when cornered/scared, it’s my fault, it has completely caught me out and I hadn’t anticipated what could happen, with a quick google this morning there was half a dozen things I should have done to prevent this from happening during fireworks.
    My own principles make it extremely difficult to see beyond re-homing, but I can see how that is likely to leave my son without the opportunity to re-build confidence with dogs in general, and it is very harsh on the dog as obviously it’ll make it extremely difficult for the Trust to re-home him.


    The dog has to go. Dogs are pack animals, and who did he attack? The weakest in his pack.

    Your son is in the firing line, it’s time to find the dog a new home.

    Premier Icon kimbers

    my parents put those tacky jumpers on the dogs at fireworks time, seems to help settle them


    Sorry to say it but the dog probably has to go.
    It is not fair on the rest of your fsmily to keep it.

    really crappy situation though. 🙁

    Premier Icon Lifer

    IME ‘comforting’ an animal has the opposite effect. They take it as a sign that there is something to worry about and fussing over them increases stress. Carry on as normal ignoring the fireworks has always worked better.


    I was attacked as a boy by a friends dog. I never trusted dogs again. Glad your boy is physically OK.

    Morons letting off fireworks at all hours is sadly the norm in towns nowadays. Doesn’t look like there’s any political appetite to change the law on buying them either.

    But there’s also a big problem with dog ownership in unsuitable conditions too, as evidenced by the rise in attacked children (and adults, that lady dying the other day). Why we don’t licence them is beyond me. In my opinion there’s no place for dogs in towns or around children.

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