I am hoping that as responsible pet owners, all of us have made the decision to not use or at least to reduce the use of firecrackers to welcome the New Year. Bear in mind, noises are perceived by dogs with about four times greater intensity compared to humans! Because it is unlikely that there won’t be a single firecracker going off within range of your pet’s hearing this New Year’s Eve… here are a few tips to get your pets safely through the New Year’s celebration:

  1. Lots of play and exercise before the fireworks get started – really let them burn off that energy, it helps them to stay calm.
  2. Make sure they all get a chance to eat and go potty hours before they have to deal with the noise.
  3. If your dog (or cat) has an indestructible, hollow chewtoy like a Kong that he loves to chew on, prepare these in advance loaded with some great stuffing – this provides them with a welcome distraction throughout the noise. But don’t force your pet to play or engage the toy if he doesn’t want to. Just leave it near him in his hiding spot.
  4. Give your pet a spot in the house where he can curl up in – if your dog chooses to hide, just leave him there in peace, and don’t try to coax him out. If your dog hides or cowers, be neutral, don’t amplify his anxiety by coddling him. Just go about your New Year’s Eve preparations and celebrations as if nothing is the matter. Once in a while, but without speaking to him, look in on your pet just to make sure he’s still in his hiding spot.
  5. Make sure your pets will be secure inside the house – panicked animals may try to flee or escape and could get lost.
  6. If your pets have ID tags, make sure they are wearing them so that in case they do get lost, any person finding them can contact you or bring them home safely.
  7. Also remember to take a good photo of your pet so you have something to put up in case you need to make a “Lost” or “Missing” poster.
  8. After the fireworks, keep a close eye on your pet for the next few days to see if the noise stress had any effects on his health. If in the next 24 hours, your dog does not eat, pee or poop following his normal routines; if he has difficulty in breathing or seems exercise intolerant or if there is anything else seemingly off about your pet consider having him checked up by a veterinarian.
  9. Regularly change any exposed drinking water with fresh water – with all the smoke from New Year’s Eve, water that is left out may not be safe to drink after a few hours.
  10. Make sure to clean up any firecracker remnants and other debris outside your house that the dog might play with or ingest when you let him outside.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year, Everybody!

Doc Marose

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