For most people the turn of the year with it's accompanying New Year's Eve party is a delightful event, which is awaited with great anticipation. However, for most dogs the days around New Year's Eve are pure torture. And mostly these start way before the ignition of fireworks...
In most households it is hectic already hours before the new year. Preparations are being made, an appropriate outfit chosen, a suitable purse selected. Various shoes scattered around, a new New Year's Eve Outfit put on and recombined. The last metres into the new year often come along with a stressful mood. Kids in the neighbourhood have been testing the fireworks on functionality for a few hours already - it's banging and flashing outside. Many dogs fear exactly that pop, which comes from the fireworks during New Year's Eve time. But how can you help the loved four-legged friend during those hard days?
In general the following applies: Transmit tranquillity and calmness, it will be passed on to your four-legged friend since a dog watches and copies behaviours from it's pack members. When these communicate tranquillity your dog get's signalled that everything is alright and that there is no need to worry.
During New Year's Eve time the dog should be kept on a leash and be secured while walking him. Around these days Firecracker are being ignited already days before and often also days after New Year's Eve. The occasionally pops frighten the dog more than the usual street noise.
Furthermore, you should choose walking times that are as noise free as possible. That simply helps avoiding lots of jumpy situations for the dog. It is recommended to fully avoid walking the dog in the dark or by night since most firecrackers are being fired during that time and the light flashes constitute another source of fear for the dog.
Alone at home
If the dog, for any reason, has to stay at home alone during the days around New Year's Eve - due to work or important appointments - there are some essential precautions to take. Arrange the dogs place as protecting and confiding as possible - for example by setting up a box or a self made cave. It is best to offer the dog a secure retreat where he feels comfortable and safe.
It is also suggested to have the radio or television on at normal listening volume. The noises soften the occasional firecrackers and distract the dog additionally. At New Year's Eve itself the dog should generally not be left alone. Therefore you should figure out an appropriate solution early enough so that the four-legged friend doesn't sit at home lonely.
New Year's Eve
A priori it is important to figure out who will keep the dog company in the house or apartment during New Year's Eve. At least one person should take care of the four-legged friend. It is not an option to take him outside on the streets to the fireworks!
Distract the dog, for example with a special treat or chewing bone (have a look at our appropriate toys). The mechanism of chewing and swallowing calms the dog and that in turn damps the fear. In addition, you may hide some of the treats and let the four-legged friend look for them. The dog’s brain is not able to think in a complex way and to react extremely emotional at the same time – keep him busy!
The favourite haunt
Enable your dog access to its favourite haunt – no matter where it is located. One prefers company, the other the quiet of the laundry room. You know best where your dog’s favourite space is. Set up a feel-good area for him there. If access is provided and your dog still tries to stay nearby you, you should respond to that with closeness. Many dog owner believe they must not mind the dog’s anxiety because it may encourage that behavior. Different studies verify the contrary. In case the dog tries to stay close to you, you should offer him shelter and care.
With these tips New Year’s Eve shouldn’t any longer become a nightmare for human and dog. Remember, staying calm and optimistic you will become a safe haven for your companion.
Happy New Year!