Keeping Fido Safe this New Year’s Eve by Planning Ahead
Now Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to start planning your festivities to ring in the New Year! With some planning and foresight, you can make New Year’s Eve not only fun and exciting, but also safe for your family dog.
Bringing in the New Year conjures up thoughts of fun parties, sparkling drinks, tasty munchies and exciting fireworks. But regardless of how you decide to celebrate, also plan ahead for the comfort and safety of your four-legged friend.
Remember both the stress and changes in our daily routines can negatively impact our dogs. Dogs are creatures of habit and when familiar schedules change, they can become anxious. Imagine for a moment, through your dog’s eyes, the sudden barrage of unfamiliar sights, sounds, smells and people associated with New Year’s Eve. With a little planning, you can help your dog effectively deal with the upcoming New Year celebration.
YOU Know Your Dog Best
Each dog is as different as each human being. Only you know your dog’s limits and the situations they are comfortable in. Can they handle busy situations with strange people and overexcited children? If your dog is not well-socialized with all kinds of people, a New Year’s Eve party is not the time to try socializing them. If your dog becomes overwhelmed with lots of activity or people, give them a “safe place.”
A “Safe Place” for your Dog is Heavenly
Barking, pacing, sudden changes in behavior, urinating or defecating in the house, excessive panting, licking, yawning or turning the head away and retreating or hiding are all signs your dog may be feeling anxious. NEVER force your dog to do or accept something when they are showing signs of anxiety; this will only accelerate the discomfort, fear or even potential aggression that could lead to an unwanted bite.
Instead, create a secure “safe place” for your dog where they can relax and observe the festivities from a protected distance. Perhaps a crate with their favorite blanket, toy or bone or a quiet room blocked off with a baby gate. (Leaving your dog outside and unsupervised is not a good option.)
Using a “safe place” for your dog also offers an additional benefit when it comes to tempting party food and drinks.
Alcohol and Party Foods are NOT Dog-Friendly
Just like us, dogs love sampling those delicious smelling foods and it only takes a second for them to grab and run! So again, a designated “safe place” can keep your dog out of harm’s way when it comes to the party foods and drinks; especially when you’re distracted with hosting and serving your guests. Alcoholic beverages as well as rich, salty and fatty foods/hor d’oeuvres (including those containing the artificial sweetener, xylitol) are all unhealthy for your dog; and potentially, could even be dangerous if ingested.
Fireworks: Ouch, my Aching Ears!
With a dog’s ultra-sensitive hearing, fireworks can rattle even the calmest dog. The bright, unpredictable flashes of light can also be frightening and overwhelming for some dogs. Again, each dog reacts differently, so plan ahead for your dog. Are there homeopathic remedies that can help them relax? (Always try them beforehand so you know what to expect.) Would your dog be happier staying somewhere else, away from the fireworks, with someone they know? Could something like a ThunderShirt help them stay calm? Your vet can help you make the right decision for your dog’s comfort and safety.
A Tired Dog is a Happier Dog
One of the best things you (or a trusted dog walker) can do before kicking off the festivities is to spend some extra quality time exercising your K9; a tired dog is a happy (and relaxed) dog!
With just a little planning in advance, your dog can also safely and calmly enjoy the New Year’s celebrations.