A Dog-friendly New Year’s Eve: Tips to Stay Safe and Have Fun
Happy New Year! Whether it’s just you and your furry friend, the two of you plus a few close friends or a house full of party animals, here’s how to make your New Year’s Eve pet-friendly, safe and fun for everybody.
New Year’s Eve for Dogs: What to Expect
A quiet, relaxing celebration should present few problems for your pet, but you don’t have to leave them out of the fun. Dress up your pup in sparkly party gear, bake some special doggy treats, involve your guests in simple canine games with balls or your dog’s favorite toys — and don’t forget to take lots of pictures to commemorate the fun and share them with your guests!
A big party with a noisy crowd, however, introduces several major concerns for your dog. Loud conversation and laughter, bleating noisemakers, party poppers, neighborhood fireworks and a forest of legs moving all over your dog’s territory can add up to a canine nightmare — not a great start to the year for your furry pal.
And if your plans are to go out for the night, your pup may enjoy a quiet evening at home — or find themselves dealing with the loud and possibly scary noises from parties next door or neighborhood fireworks, depending on where you live.
The good news is that before you hit the town, travel to a friend’s gathering or throw a big party yourself, there are steps you can take to prepare your dog for the noisy night ahead.
New Year’s Eve Tips for Pups
Below are some tips to ease your dog’s tensions and help kick off the new year on a high note.
Keep Food and Drinks out of Reach
No matter the size of the party, make sure your pup can’t get into human food and beverages. Drinks often spill and glasses may be left in places your dog can access. Alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, nuts, avocado, sugary treats ... a long list of ingredients people love can harm your dog. The best rule, during parties and in general? No human foods for dogs! Caution your guests and keep an eye on your party dog.
Prepare for Loud Noises
If you live near a New Year’s Eve fireworks event, take steps to protect your dog from the commotion. Remember, your dog’s ears are much more sensitive than yours. Dogs hear a greater range of frequencies with sensitivity several times broader than human hearing. Explosions and thunderous vibrations that entertain us can terrify a pet.
It takes time, but you can prepare your dog for loud noises by introducing them over time to movie soundtracks, spirited classical music and even recordings of thunderstorms. Sit with your dog at first and offer Cesar treats as you listen together. Eventually, loud noises can become less frightening.
Provide a Safe Spot
You know where your dog enjoys resting, where they feel safe and comfortable. Make sure your pet’s favorite safe place is available and consider adding a favorite toy or blanket for extra comfort. Sit with them for a time when the indoor or outdoor commotion begins and offer plenty of reassurance. If you’ll be out during the fireworks, be sure to say goodbye with plenty of petting and words of reassurance.
Have Distractions Ready
If you’ve introduced your dog to a variety of music types, you may have picked up on which one is their favorite. Your pup may also have a favorite movie or TV series, too. Whether you stay home or go out on New Year’s Eve, it may help your dog to have these calming sounds playing during the commotion.
Let off Steam with Exercise
With enough vigorous walking and running around a dog park or yard beforehand, you just might be able to make your dog too tired to mind the holiday hubbub. For good measure, use this strategy in combination with musical distraction and your dog’s safe place.
Explore Anxiety Treatments
A variety of dog-anxiety vests are available and can provide a dramatic calming effect. Easy to put on and take off, they apply constant, gentle pressure around a dog’s body. The feeling of being wrapped in a hug reduces fear and anxiety in many dogs.
Some dogs, and maybe yours, can be helplessly terrified by noise, whether it’s the thunder of fireworks or the kind of commotion your New Year’s Eve party may bring. Because you know your dog best, you’ll have a good idea whether the previous suggestions will calm your dog or not. If these tips won’t work, ask your veterinarian to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication. Be sure to do so well in advance, as most vets will want to visit with your dog before prescribing anything.
Go on Vacation
You and your pet don’t have to stay around for the year-end clamor. Head for a quieter place, kick back with your pup and enjoy the passing of the year in peace and quiet. Hardier souls may even consider camping. Think of your escape as a minivacation for both you and your pup.