This article is contributed by guest writer Laura N. (FursnPaws).
10 Tips to Minimize Your Dog’s Anxiety on New Year’s Eve
As the countdown to the new year begins, we are likely to witness the activities that have shaped this celebration for decades.
From fireworks displays, loud parties, rockets, sparklers, and many more, all these present different ways of ushering in a new year and yes, it is entertaining on our part.
But what about our furry companions? It’s important to remember that the loud noises and commotion of firecrackers can be stressful for dogs.
If your dog is prone to anxiety or is sensitive to loud noises, New Year’s Eve can be a particularly challenging time for them.
That’s why it’s important to take steps to minimize your dog’s anxiety during these hyped-up moments.
In this post, we’ll provide you with 10 tips to minimize your dog’s anxiety during New Year’s Eve and other potentially stressful situations.
Why New Year’s Eve Is Stressful to Dogs
New Year’s Eve can be stressful for dogs due to the loud noises and commotion that often accompany the holiday. Sparklers displays, countdown parties, and other jamborees can all produce loud clatters that can startle and worry dogs into stress.
Some dogs are highly sensitive to sounds and can easily get frightened by such unusual noises. Fireworks, in particular, can be very upsetting for many dogs due to their sudden, loud blasts.
The unfamiliar environment brought about by the celebrations can also be a stressor to most dogs. The sudden commotion and huge crowd associated with this day could be overwhelming to some dogs and may cause them to build nervousness during the night.
The fear and anxiety that dogs may experience during New Year’s Eve can lead to a range of unwanted behaviors, such as excessive barking, aggression, digging, or trying to escape.
10 Tips to Minimize Your Dog’s Anxiety on New Year’s Eve
1. Confine your dog in a calm room
Keep your dog in a quiet, safe room or crate for the night of celebrations. A noiseless, safe space can provide your dog with a sense of security and help reduce their building anxiety in case of loud noises.
Make sure the place is soundproof with access to your dog’s favorite toys and a comfortable place to rest, preferably a cozy bed.
2. Exercise your dog
Provide your canine friend with lots of mental and physical activities throughout the day.
This can help tire them out and make them more relaxed and ready to sleep during the ensuing night. Ideas for mental stimulation include puzzle toys, interactive toys, and training sessions.
Physical exercise and games are also important for relieving the body and mind of anxiety. Take your dog for a long walk or run, a trip to the dog park, or play a game of fetch in the yard. This is a good way to keep your dog fit and give them a reason to sleep early for the night.
3. Use calming aids
Consider using calming aids such as dog-calming pheromone diffusers or anxiety supplements. These can help reduce your dog’s anxiety and make them feel more comfortable when nervousness starts to build up.
Pheromone diffusers work by releasing calming pheromones that mimic the dog’s natural nursing hormone into the air.
4. Feed your dog
Nothing could make a dog more anxious in loud music than being hungry and thirsty at the same time.
Make sure your dog has lots of nutritious food and clean drinking water available throughout the festivities. A full belly and a comfortable place to rest can help your dog feel more relaxed and secure.
5. Distract your dog with fun activities
You can distract your pup from the ongoing celebrations by giving them fun activities to engage in.
Get your dog’s favorite toys and treats and let them get busy as the firecrackers displays are running through the night.
When you guide your furry friend into focusing on fun activities, they are less likely to get carried away into stressful behavior and fear due to loud noises.
6. Desensitize your dog
You can start desensitizing your dog to loud noises by playing festivities films and sounds from YouTube at tolerable levels in your home.
This is a good way of letting your dog get used to the loud noises as you prepare them for the upcoming major event.
To get the best results, you should start soothing your dog early enough before the final week of New Year’s Eve.
7. Gradually expose your dog to the noises
You can gradually expose your sensitive dog to the sounds they are likely to encounter on New Year’s Eve celebrations and see how they react.
Start by playing video and audio recordings of fireworks or countdown party noises at a low volume, and progressively increase the volume over time.
This will help your dog to get accustomed to the sounds and less likely to be overly anxious when they encounter the celebratory clatter.
In the first episodes, your dog will most likely bark in response to unfamiliar noises. This should not worry you but if it persists, find out some tips on how to train a dog to stop barking and see what will work for them.
8. Consult your vet
It’s always a good idea to talk to your veterinarian or pet behaviorist about your dog’s anxiety situation especially if they have a rooted fear of loud noises.
They can help you create a desensitization program to keep your dog calm and comfortable during New Year’s Eve and other potentially stressful situations.
9. Get a pet sitter
If you have had previous experience with your dog’s anxiety over loud noises, then you can consider hiring a pet sitter or boarding your dog at a facility that can host your dog during the celebration’s day.
A professional pet sitter or boarding facility can provide your dog with the best environment they need to stay calm during the hustle and buzz of New Year’s Eve.
10. Move to another neighborhood
You can opt to temporarily leave your neighborhood with your dog during the New Year’s Eve parties.
Going to a quiet place in the country, such as a family house or a pet-friendly hotel, can provide a calm and peaceful environment for your dog to relax in.
It’s important to plan and make arrangements in advance, as many places may be fully booked during the holiday season.
By following the tips to minimize your dog’s anxiety on New Year’s Eve, you can help ensure that they remain calm and comfortable during this short celebration.
It’s always important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and monitor for any signs of uneasiness. If your canine friend seems particularly nervous or stressed out, try providing additional comfort and reassurance to them.
If you’re unable to manage your dog’s anxiety on your own, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional. Your vet or a certified dog behaviorist can provide valuable guidance and support in managing your dog’s nervousness.
With a little preparation and care, you can help your dog enjoy a happy and stress-free New Year’s Eve.