How to get your dog through New Year's Eve

Linn Radsted

How to get your dog through New Year's Eve

Many dogs are so anxious during New Year’s, that the last day of the year is very painful for both dog and owner.

A good idea is to train your dog to get used to loud noises well in advance. But despite training you may still need a number of preventative measures to ensure that your dog gets through the evening as best as possible.

There are many tips out there, but here we’ve compiled a top 10 list for dog owners on New Year's Eve:

  • Remember to exercise your dog during the day well in advance of nightfall. You want your dog to be tired and well stimulated. Search drills, nose work and play can be combined with a good long walk.
  • Make sure to exercise your dog thoroughly early in the day. A good long walk in the woods or on the beach will help the dog relax later in the evening.
  • Make sure to keep the dog indoors when darkness falls. Many people start shooting off fireworks long before midnight.
  • If you plan on giving your dog sedatives or calming medication, do so well in advance of her showing signs of anxiety. Use only medication prescribed by a veterinarian for your own dog - never use medication prescribed for humans.
    Today, a combination of anxiety-reducing and calming medication is often prescribed, so your dog's anxiety is lessened and she becomes sleepy at the same time.
  • Do not punish or scold your dog if she shows insecurity about fireworks. Instead, try to divert the dog's attention with some fun play, training or anything else the dog likes (e.g., a good bone she can spend time gnawing on) - however, avoid too much food if the dog is medicated.
  • If your dog is scared and hiding, for example under the sofa, leave him there. Do not try to pull him out from his hiding place.
  • Pull the curtains so that the dog does not see the flashes of light. Your dog will connect the flashes with an unpleasant sound, and it can make her more scared. Leave music or television turned on to mute the sounds outside.
  • Do not leave your dog alone - not at midnight, and definitely not if he is medicated.
    Make sure he has company and is busy with something interesting, such as a big, juicy bone, searching for treats or some new toys. Fun activities can help divert his attention from the noises outside.
  • Keep in mind that the behavior of intoxicated people will seem strange to many dogs, and that can aggravate their anxiety.
  • NEVER try to show your dog "that fireworks are not dangerous" by taking the dog to the fireworks. Your dog can’t comprehend it anyway, and the experience can do more harm than good.

 

The next day - January 1st:

Be aware that fireworks continue to be set off, so remember to keep your dog on a lease! Also be aware that the streets are often filled with glass shards and debris from fireworks, so keep your dog from sniffing and stepping on dangerous items.