New Year’s Eve can be a particularly stressful time for pets: plenty of activity, excitement, loud noises and firework bangs can all increase anxiety and make pets tense and jittery. Here are a few ways that you can help to keep them safe and calm throughout the action.
The first step is to be aware of signs of stress in your pet. Each animal is different, but common indicators include trembling or shaking, loss of appetite, panting, excessive grooming, growling, hiding behind or under furniture, and consistent barking or meowing. If your pet is getting stressed, try to manage their stress and calm them down.
Ensure your pet has a safe, calming space: draw the blinds to block out flashes of light and close the windows and turn on the TV or radio to mask some of the noise. Try not to leave your pet alone for long if they’re panicking – your presence will help to calm and soothe them. However, making an extra fuss could compound their stress, try not to make a big deal of the noise.
If you know your pet’s particularly sensitive or anxious around fireworks, there are some very effective steps you can take ahead of time to help desensitise them. However, these do take time and planning; speak to your vet to find out how this works. At this stage, it’s a little too late for desensitisation, but there are some very effective products and medications, available from your vet to help your pet’s stress over the short New Year’s firework period. Your vet will be able to offer the best advice for your pet.
Even something as simple as tiring your dog out on a long walk (with the hope they then sleep through the festivities) can be helpful. It’s worth remembering that really sensitive dogs will associate the darkness with the fireworks, so try and go early.
With fireworks and loud noise around, there’s a chance your pet might panic and flee.
While you can take steps to prevent this – like, rounding up your cat before the madness begins and locking cat flaps from the inside – it’s important that your pet’s microchip details are up to date. If they do go missing, an up to date microchip increases your chance of finding them.