Ringing in the New Year can be terrifying for dogs when midnight strikes and fireworks start flying
Yes, we’re all very, very excited to say goodbye to 2018 and welcome a totally new year where nothing is going to go wrong and we will finally consistently take barre classes. And yes, it’s fun to celebrate the holiday with extremely loud and bright explosions. But before you start lighting Roman candles and roll out the cannon, it’s super important to consider both your dog (or dogs) and the other pets in your neighborhood.
Before we start lighting fuses and popping the bubbly, Dogs Trust, a canine welfare non-profit based in the United Kingdom, shared some tips for pet owners on New Year’s – as well as for anyone who cares about our four-legged friends – on Twitter.
They start off with five main tips that can help dogs – the first and most important being that you take your dog for a walk so that they get some exercise, feel calm, and get to relieve themselves before the noise starts. Just get your best buddy out before dark, because not everyone waits until midnight to start unloading their arsenal.
Next, double check your doors, fences and gates, because some dogs will bolt when frightened. If you have a closing doggie door, consider locking it up for the evening.
Also, don’t deny your dog comfort – and certainly don’t berate it for being frightened, having bathroom accidents, or acting up during the fireworks. Make the environment as familiar and safe as possible: with access to its dog bed or crate, with the lights on, and windows shut to minimize the noise. Try turning up the television or radio to drown out the explosions.
Finally, don’t kick your dog outside. It’s cruel and you could give it long-term trauma issues that will be a burden on both them and you. Hang out be calm with your dog so they can get through the night with the person they trust most.
If your dog has long-term trauma issues associated with loud noises and fireworks, you can also consider some long-term solutions to help your pet cope and stay as comfortable as possible. These strategies include creating a “den” for your dog – like a crate – and establishing that it’s a safe spot as well as trying to desensitize your dog to loud noises through sound therapy.
Even if you don’t have a dog, you can still help local dogs feel more comfortable during the New Year. Try attending an official, organized fireworks display instead of adding to the noise with your own. If you absolutely can’t stop yourself from celebrating with bright lights and loud noises, let your neighbors know ahead of time when and where you’ll be setting off the pyrotechnics – and limit yourself to a half-hour of fun. Finally, when choosing fireworks, try to go for quieter options (we recommend sparklers, honestly).
Happy New Year, and keep those sweet doggos safe.