New Year’s Eve has traditionally been a time of joy and celebrations for millions of people across the globe but for dogs, it can feel like the world is caving in on them. The reason – is fireworks, those dazzling displays of light that can cause dogs to tremble and suffer from severe nerves and stress. According to PETA, this is also a night during which many animals go missing, because they panic and run away from home. Other hurt themselves by jumping through glass windows, suffering undue hurt and pain and leading to a painful and often costly trip to the veterinarian’s. For most of us, dogs and cats (and indeed all pets) are family. Therefore, consider these tips for a stress-free New Year’s Eve:
- Consider a night out for your dog. If your grandparents love your dog and say they wish they could spend more time with him, or your parents wouldn’t mind dog sitting for just one night, do take them up on their offer if they are staying in on New Year’s Eve, and they live in a quiet area. Prevention is better than cure so if your pooch can avoid the revelry altogether, so be it.
- Be with them. Nothing is more soothing to your dog than your proximity during times of stress. Try brushing, massaging, or caressing them. Very nervous dogs will not react positively to affection; they may prefer to be by themselves. Many pet owners find it useful to build a kind of ‘bunker’ in their home. Use a tent, a dog house or even an open closet with blankets and soft pillows inside, to help your dog feel like they have a safe hiding place in the home. If you don’t normally sleep in the same room as your pooch, make an exemption just this one night.
- Try to drown out the noise. Use white noise (or a good white noise App), close all windows and curtains and if you can afford it, soundproof at least one room in your home and place your pooch there for the evening. There are also dedicated CDs specifically made to calm anxious dogs so do the research and decide whether this type of product might work for your dog.
- Keep your dog inside the house at all time. Some fireworks can be deafeningly loud; save your dog the stress and keep them as far away as possible from distressing noise. If you live in an apartment without a garden, take your dog for a walk before 12am as they may be too nervous afterwards to venture out for a walk. Moreover, the sounds of the fireworks outdoors will be too much for them to handle.
- Use a natural calmer. Pet Supply UK has an excellent, all-natural product which many pet owners report at being very useful at calming anxious dogs down. Since the product is all-natural, there is no risk of overdose and you needn’t worry about interactions with any medications your pet may be taking. The product is also indicated for training and travel, so you will find that it has more than one use. Some of its calming ingredients include Wild Lettuce, Passiflora, German Chamomile, and Hawthorn extracts. All these are blended with a syrup base, so you dog will love the taste as well. This product is meant to be given for 10 consecutive days at a specific dose (after this time period the dose is normally reduced), so start a few days before New Year’s Eve so your dog is already in a more relaxed state. The calmer can be given directly or mixed into your dog’s food or favourite snack.
- Consider diffusing calming essential oils throughout the home. Invest in a good oil diffusing machine and use it with calming oils like lavender. Essential oils are no longer an ‘alternative product,’ with more and more veterinarians reporting great success from oils such as orange and lemon (to liven up depressed pets), or lavender (to calm pets). Make sure to use therapeutic grade essential oils only; they come in dark bottles to preserve integrity. If you are using essential oils for the first time, let your veterinarian know your plans first and make sure they give you approval for use on your dog.