In years gone by, New Years was not a time of celebration for me. I owned several horses and lived near a city center in north Texas. When others were watching the fireworks in awe and excitement, I was standing watch over my horses. Panic ensued when the rockets’ red glare burst over my pasture, frightening not just my horses but my other pets as well. Fido tripped me up as he tremblingly tried to stay literally under my feet. Fluffy took to the closet and wouldn’t come out until the next day.
Since then, I’ve learned some tips to keeping household pets calmer and consequently lessened my own stress along the way. I also found a few products that are especially helpful with fearful pets. I’d like to share them with you.
Prepare, prepare, prepare.
There is no reason you can’t welcome the New Year just because you have pets. Preparation is key to a happy and safe celebration.
Having a party? With people coming and going, you’re going to want to have a place your pets can relax away from the crowd and without the fear of them getting outside by accident. Keep one room off-limits (lock the door if you have to), and close the windows, blinds, and curtains. Turn on some soft music and leave it playing on a radio or other device so that your pets can hear something besides the sounds of fireworks exploding overhead. Keep a low light on and be sure you leave a blanket, pillow, or other personal item with your scent for your buddy to snuggle up to during the party. Ask friends to stay away from that part of the house so noise isn’t overwhelming.
Do not, under any circumstances, leave your pet chained up outdoors. Being frightened by noise is bad enough, but feeling simultaneously trapped and exposed at the same time is overwhelming.
If you are going to a fireworks display, be sure Fido stays at home, even if you usually take him everywhere with you. If he suffers from separation anxiety, stay at home and watch the fireworks on TV.
During the day of New Year’s Eve, make sure your pup has plenty of exercise. A worn-out dog is more likely to sleep than one that’s fresh and alert. Making sure he has eaten well, gone outside to do his business, and has water close at hand are also important. Don’t wait until the last minute—remember that the sun goes down early in the winter and celebrations start as soon as it’s dark.
You don’t have to suffer an anxiety-ridden New Year. There are so many ways to help your pets relax during stressful times like fireworks and holiday parties.