How To Keep Your Pet Safe & Stress-Free On New Year’s Eve

by Kaitlyn Wylde
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New Year's Eve might be one of the most fun and exciting holidays for adults, but for pets it's not always as great. The combination of loud noises and crowds can be incredibly stressful for a pet. So, to ensure that you have a good time and not at your pet's expense, you'll want to take note of some ways to keep your pet safe on New Year's Eve — particularly from fireworks and booze, two unlikely culprits that stress the hell of pets every year.

Pets have a tendency to freak out over fireworks, even when they're miles away. Dogs and cats that are mellow homebodies can often run away or hide from the ominous sounds. And it's no secret that New Year's is a time for drinking, and even the most particular pets have been caught drinking out of an unattended drink. So to keep your pet safe while you host a party, leave for the night, or head to an event with your pet, you'll want to take note of the following safety guidelines so it can actually be a happy new year for both you and your pet.

Give Them A Lot Of Exercise In The Morning

If your dog has a lot of pent-up energy, they're going to act out in a stressful situation. The best thing you can do for your dog on New Year's is exercise them thoroughly, earlier in the day. You essentially want to wear them out with fun and interactive play time during the day, so that by nighttime, they don't have the energy to panic.

Keep Them Away From The Booze

This might sound obvious, but if you're having people over, make sure they know not to leave their cups on low surfaces. You might assume that your dog won't drink from a boozy cup because it doesn't smell particularly great, but you'd be wrong. Alcohol can be seriously dangerous for dogs, even in small quantities. So if you want to avoid a New Year's spent in the ER, ensure that all drinks are on tall dog-proof surfaces and clean up throughout the night.

Keep Them In A Quiet And Secure Space

If possible, keep your pet in a quiet and secluded space that they're comfortable in. Whether you're having a loud party, or your neighborhood is hosting a fireworks display, there will be noises that will potentially freak your pet out and make them feel unsafe and stressed. To lower the chances of a mini or major melt-down, make sure you leave your pet with some comforting personal items like a bed, a toy, a treat, and a full water bowl.

Watch The Door Carefully

Pets react differently to stressful sounds and situations. Your pet might tolerate fireworks well their whole lives and then one year just freak out and try to run away or hide. To ensure that your pet can bolt far, keep a close eye on the door. Even if it would be incredibly out of character for your pet, it's a possibility that they will have a strong reaction, so limit the risk. If you're having a party, leave a sign on the door that reminds guests to shut door properly to keep your pet safe. Also remember to keep windows closed, no matter how high they are — a scared pet is capable of extreme agility.

Be Careful With Decorations

Just because your pet wouldn't typically try to eat a noisemaker or piece of confetti doesn't mean they won't try this New Years. In the case of a stressful event, a dog might do all sorts of things that are not in-line with their typical behavior. If you decide to decorate your home, make sure you don't leave decorations on the floor. If you're walking your dog on the street, make sure that you keep a close eye on them so that they don't accidentally eat something that they shouldn't.

Be Mindful Of The Chaos

Try not to submit your pet to too much stress, if you have any control over it. If you're taking your dog to a firework show, don't stay the whole time, the noises are alarming and not nearly as spectacular for dogs — plus, extended exposure to cold weather is dangerous for pets of all sizes. If you're having a party, make sure someone is there to help keep an eye on your dog and take them out for walks to get a break from the excitement. If you're going out to a party and leaving your pet at home, hire a dog walker or cat sitter to stop by and make sure everything is OK.

Talk To Your Vet About Meds If Needed

If your pet does not handle stress and excitement well, and has a history of running away or having emotional episodes, talk to your pet's vet about possible medications that will help your pet stay calm and happy for the day. Your pet's vet might recommend an over-the-counter treatment, an herbal supplement, or a prescription medication based on your pet's level of anxiety.