With New Year’s Eve just right around the corner, you probably have plans for a fun or just a relaxing evening to move to the new year. But do you have plans to make the evening safe and relaxing for your dogs?
New Year’s Eve can be of high anxiety for our pets. With the fireworks, loud music, shouts and laughter, and in some areas even the banging of pots and pans or gunfire, our normally sedate pets may feel that their world is under attack. Some pets will lose all ability to act rationally and go so far as to jump out of windows or bloody their paws trying to escape through locked doors. It is on these nights, in fact, that pets are most likely to run away in a panic and get lost.
If you’re a dog owner, here are some important safety tips to keep in mind this New Year’s Eve.
Watch for Signs
If you’re spending the evening at home planning for a quiet time, you want to keep a close eye on your dog’s reaction to outside noises. Keep them indoors or at a confined secure place as much as possible during the evening, especially if fireworks are audible from your yard. If necessary, use a gate or indoor wireless dog fence to create a safe space for your dog in the quietest part of the house. Your dog will appreciate being sheltered from the scary, unexpected noises.
Keep Your Dog Indoors
Do not leave your dog outside on New Years eve. Block the doggie dog and keep them on a leash when taking them outside for potty. A panicking dog won’t hear your comforting words. He is freaked out and wants to find safety now. Sometimes, finding safety means jumping over, under or through the fence. Every year, local shelters and animal controls are flooded with dogs that have escaped their own yards even when pet owners were present.
Set up a Safe Place
Setting up the area where your dog will relax while you’re away is very important. If your dog is crate trained, that is probably the place they will find most safe and secure. However, if your cat or dog has not grown up using a crate and is not comfortable with it, they may find it more stressful to be confined and may even injure their teeth or nails trying to get out. Know your pet. If you cannot use a crate, place them in a room where they cannot hurt themselves or damage your belongings. Locate a room farthest away from rowdy neighbors or choose an interior room without windows to keep outdoor sounds to a minimum.
Use Positive Noise to Distract
Music and TV sounds will help keep outside noise levels to a minimum, especially during the midnight explosion. Calm classical music can help to relieve many animals’ anxiety. Turn the music up to a comfortable volume; enough to drown out some of the loud party sounds, but not too loud to be disturbing to your pet. Some pets also like to watch TV. If your cat or dog has a favorite show to watch, record it so you can play it for several hours at a time. If it gets super noisy, turn your volume up a bit to drown out the sounds. If your dog looks a bit stressed, give them a toy or chew.
Natural Calming Therapies
For dogs, lavender oil, which has been found to reduce car anxiety in dogs, can be helpful. Make sure the oil has the name Lavendula augustifolia or Lavendula officinalis. It can be used either on the skin or by letting your dog smell it. Try spraying the lavender oil on your dog’s favorite blanket. CBD oil can also help in calming dogs and cats.
Exercise Your Dog
Get your dog outside to a park for as much exercise as they can handle. Hopefully, when the noise starts, your pet will be too tired to get very stressed out by it.
Comfort Your Dog
The best thing you can do for your dog when they are anxious is to stay calm – show them by example that there is nothing to be afraid of – speak soothingly, show lots of calm affection, and give treats when they are being calm. Some dogs will learn from this that as long as you are near they are safe and they may stop being as clingy. But remember that our pets, like us, can be high strung and may always need to be comforted during noise-filled events.
Good Luck, and Happy New Year!
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