You and your family are probably looking forward to the New Year’s Eve festivities with lots of people, fireworks and generally lots of noise. But one member of your family will not have the same eager anticipation about the end of the year, and that is your dog.
You will probably have a stressed-out hound when it comes to New Year’s Eve. They just don’t do noise in general, especially loud and sudden bangs from fireworks, which are amplified due to their super-human hearing. Dogs with hanging ears may have a slight advantage, but it won’t help them enough!
They are also not keen on loads of people being in a confined space either, so you must take steps to protect your dog so that they will be calm while the humans are going crazy.
No responsible dog owner wants to see their pooch suffering or cowering in a corner trying to hide away but, if you don’t take steps, then you shouldn’t complain if yourpoorpoochsoils the carpet because they are scared.
Here are 8 steps you can follow to help calm your pet on New Year’s Eve.
#1. Prepare for the great day
You know New Year’s Eve is coming but your dog doesn’t so you need to take responsibility before the great day and plan ahead. Don’t leave it until the last minute when guests are arriving at your home and fireworks are already going off.
You will know your pooch better than anyone and from previous experiences know whether they can handle the New Year’s Eve noises and stress or not. Most dogs cannot handle it so the advice is to take control of the situation.
If you have to keep your pet at home then one of the best things that you can do is to try and make them less sensitive to loud noises and fireworks going off. Ideally this de-sensitizing process should start when they are pups, but with rescue dogs it’s unclear what training they have received, so start slowly and gradually expose them to these noises. Perhaps have a small trial run before 31 December!
#2. What if your pooch will be home alone?
It may be that you and your family are all planning to go out for New Year’s Eve. If this is the case, you need to consider your dog and whether at least one family member should make the sacrifice and stay home.
If your hound has a family member to lean on then they will feel a lot more comfortable. Facing all of those sudden noises alone is very likely to spook them. Again plan this so there are no arguments on New Year’s Eve. Whoever misses out on the celebrations will do so because they really love your dog.
#3. Take your dog away from the noise
With the experience of previous New Year’s Eves under your belt you will know if where you live is likely to be noisy and stressful for your pooch. Are there fireworks displays? Will there be a lot of people at your home or outside shouting and screaming?
In this situation consider going away to a quieter location with your furry friends. Do you know someone that lives in the countryside away from all the noise? It is tough on New Year’s Eve to find anywhere that is completely free of noise, but a significant reduction is a lot better.
#4. Keep your pet restricted
This means that your dog will stay in one area of your home throughout the New Year’s Eve proceedings. They need to have their crate or their bed in this room so that they feel comfortable and safe. If your pooch has a favorite toy then make sure that they have that as well. Their surroundings need to be completely familiar and comforting.
#5. Take precautions against flashing lights and noises
Not only will sudden noises affect your dog but light flashes from fireworks and other things will frighten them. So be sure to close the curtains fully so that this problem is masked. Also, you can turn up the noise level within your home by having your radio or TV a bit louder than it normally is so that some noises are masked.
#6. Make them dog tired
Your dog will not want to go out for their walk on New Year’s Eve evening when there is mayhem all around. So take them out during the day and really tire your pooch out. Walk further than you do normally and play with that ball or stick for longer.
When your pet is tired they will be less likely to jump out of their skin when they hear a firework going off or people shouting.
#7. Keep them occupied
Get someone to play with your dog and keep them occupied during the festivities as this will help. You know what your canine likes to do, so have people take turns doing that. You want to get their mind off of the noise and lights as much as possible.If they’re not up to anything energetic, a kong stuffed with some tasty food will help keep them occupied.
Also, please remember, if your animal stresses out then it is essential that you act as you normally do. I know it’s hard, but don’t be tempted to make a total fuss over your dog each time they are scared.If you are calm and carry on as normal through the noise then your pooch will take cues from you.
#8. Diffusers and Collars with Pheromones
These days you can buy pheromone collars, diffusers and plug-ins that will help your dog to calm down. There are herbal remedies as well. Talk to your veterinarian well before the event and see what they recommend.
Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team