Once Christmas has passed, there’s a short but welcome lull in festivities. For many of us, it’s the calm before the storm that is New Year’s Eve.
While you may have successfully navigated Christmas day with your dog, there’s still one more big night of excitement before things get back to normal. Managing our Dogs and new Years Eve is another obstacle to navigate. Not only do we expect our dogs to cope with guests, a change in routine, and a big tree in the corner of the room. But there’s also the additional noise, less sleep, and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
So how do we help our dogs before normality returns?
Routine ways to keep your dog happy
It can be challenging to keep to a routine over the holiday period. But our pets thrive on a regular schedule. Irregular walks, meal times, and sleep periods can leave even the most steady dog stressed.
While it can be tempting to think that change is good for your dog, having too much can be overwhelming. If possible, keep to your dog’s routine, especially meal times and walks. The exception is New Year’s Eve, when it’s useful to walk your dog early.
Fireworks are a typical part of the New Year’s Eve celebrations and are one of the main challenges for our dogs. Unfortunately, every year dogs run away when they get spooked by fireworks. Not only is this distressing for both owner and dog, but it can also lead to dogs getting lost and injured.
Always exercise your dog before any fireworks are due to be set off. And keep your pet on a leash so that even if they get scared, they can’t run away. For extra protection, make sure your dog is wearing an up-to-date identification tag on its collar, or even better, get them microchipped if they aren’t already.
Firework Fears and loud noises
Even if you manage to walk your dog early, if your dog is noise sensitive, then New Year’s Eve is not going to be your favorite time of year. There are few things more distressing than watching a dog that’s terrified of loud noises. Trying to find a secure place to hide in a home they no longer feel safe in.
However, there is no shortage of tips and strategies that can help keep them calm and reduce your dog’s fear. Some of these, like desensitizing your dog to loud noises, need pre-planning. In contrast, others like distraction can be done on the night. If you know your dog is scared of fireworks, don’t leave them alone. And make sure that all doors and windows are secure so that your dog can’t escape and risk getting hurt.
Whether you’re hosting a party or traveling to a friend’s house to celebrate, your dog may not be up for partying. While some dogs are social and easygoing, others find the increased footfall stressful. Extra people bring with them noise, unwanted attention, and sometimes other animals.
Not only that, but as the celebrations continue and the alcohol begins to flow. Visitors can quickly forget any ground rules you’ve put in place to protect your dog. Food and alcohol can get left unattended, and party favors like party poppers and streamers can scare your dog.
Both stress and overstimulation can cause your dog to become snappy, which is a situation that you want to avoid for both your dog and your guest’s sake. Ensure your dog has a safe space that they can escape to. Or that you put your dog in if you don’t think that they’re coping.
Keep your dog’s safe space off-limits to anyone that your dog isn’t familiar with, and check on your dog regularly through the evening. If you’ve been invited to someone else’s party and they have included your dog on the invite, consider it carefully.
While it might be comforting to think that your dog won’t be left alone, a strange place, strange people, and no quiet space to escape may be a recipe for disaster.
It’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about celebrating the coming of the New Year. But keeping your dog safe will guarantee that it starts as a positive one.
Apart from the danger that fireworks pose. There are also other risks inherent in a night of partying. Food and alcohol get left unattended, and if your dog decides to help itself, it can have serious consequences for your dog.
As such, it’s useful to have a nominated dog guardian once the festivities really get going. Someone that keeps a lookout for your dog and makes sure that inappropriate food and drink and unwanted attention is kept away from your dog.
If your dog is showing any signs of stress. Take them away from the main celebrations and move them to a quiet room. If they seem distressed, stay with them and make sure they have plenty of fresh water.
Dogs and New Years Eve
New Year’s Eve might be a fun night for us, but it can be a source of stress and anxiety for our dogs. Coming so soon after the excitement of Christmas means that many dogs still have high levels of arousal as they move into the night’s activities.
If your dog begins to show unwanted behavior like chewing, barking, or nipping. It could be the result of accumulated stress over the holiday period. While our routine with our dogs gets quickly back to normal once the celebrations are over, it may take some time for our pets to de-stress and get back to their usual chilled-out selves.
If neither you nor your dog copes well in the festive season, consult your veterinarian, who can recommend medication to help.