Once Christmas day and the excitement of all of those presents and food has passed, you can take a breather for a couple of days before starting to gear up for the next big night of festivities-New Year’s Eve! While Christmas comes with a range of potential hazards for dogs itself, New Year’s Eve can also be very stressful for pets, for a wide range of reasons, one of which is the fireworks that often start a couple of days before the 31st, and may well continue well into the new year!
In this article, we will share some tips, advice and pointers on how to ensure that your dog stays safe and happy on New Year’s Eve, and minimise some of the stress that can accompany the event for dogs. Read on to learn more.
First of all, it is a good idea to appoint a responsible member of the family to be in charge of the care and management of your dog over the entire Christmas period, including the New Year’s celebrations. This could be your designated driver or someone else who is not likely to drink too much, and this person should be the one that takes care of feeding the dog and sorting out their walks, and a good rule to follow is that no one feeds the dog either their normal foods or anything else without checking with this person first.
Dogs become annoyed and unsettled if something happens that brings about a change in their normal routine, particularly if this has an impact on their feeding times, usual walks, or even when they go to sleep!
Do what you can to keep to your dog’s normal routine over the New Year, particularly when it comes to ensuring that they are exercised, get their meals at the usual times, and of course, are given the chance to go out to the toilet.
As mentioned, try to keep your dog’s walks the same as normal, and ensure that their exercise does not get neglected! However, plan ahead if you tend to walk your dog after dark or go for a final walk late in the evening, as people may well be setting off fireworks at these times, and being out with your dog whilst this is going on is best avoided.
Plan ahead, and try to adjust your dog’s walking schedule gradually if this will be the case, so that they can stretch their legs without the potential risk of being caught out away from home when a fireworks display starts up.
Also, always walk your dog on the lead at this time of year, other than if they are let off in a safely enclosed park or field, in case surprise fireworks startle your dog and cause them to run off.
Fireworks are one of the biggest challenges that can face dogs over the New Year, and you should ideally have worked with your dog to try to desensitise them to surprise bangs and noises over the previous year, as this will make things so much easier on the night itself.
Consider using a DAP diffuser or collar for your dog, leaving the radio or TV on a little louder than normal to mask the bangs, and close the curtains to reduce the stimulus.
It is important to enable your dog to feel safe and have a place that they can hide in if they wish to, but remember that making a big fuss about the noise and your dog’s responses will only reinforce their behaviour and make it worse, so act as if everything is ok and carry on as normal as far as possible.
If you intend to have friends over to your home to celebrate the New Year, your dog may well find this exciting and good fun too, and love the chance to make some new friends! However, this can also be stressful for your dog, so keep a close eye on their mood and behaviour, and place them in a quiet, calm room if things start to get a little too much, and your dog gets overstimulated.
Check on them regularly, but ensure that your guests leave your dog alone when they have left the room.
Finally, all of the common sense safety tips that you will no doubt have adhered to over the Christmas period also apply on New Year’s Eve, so keep an eye on what’s happening with food and drink and make sure that no one is feeding your dog something inappropriate.
Make it a rule that no one brings fireworks to let off at your party, and try to encourage your neighbours to avoid setting off fireworks of their own, or at least give you prior warning if they intend to do so.
Any time you let your dog into the garden to go to the toilet after dark, go with them, just in case a surprise bang upsets them.
Ensure that somebody stays sober enough to be able to take care of the dog’s needs and watch out for them-designated driver or designated dog supervisor!