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Protecting our pets on New Year’s Eve

dog and cat dancing for New Year's Eve advice

New Year's Eve and our pets!

© Shutterstock

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and you’ve probably made plans to celebrate the end of the decade in style! While New Year’s Eve can be super fun for us humans, it can be extremely stressful for our pets.

By Justine Seraphin

Updated on the 31/12/2019, 16:29

Between the fireworks, loud music, and strangers in the house - it’s no wonder pets feel anxious at this time of year. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make sure your pet feels as safe and happy as you are on New Year’s Eve.

Know when your pet is stressed

By recognising signs of stress in your pet, you will be able to act accordingly if you see they are struggling to cope with the NYE celebrations. These include:

  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Attempts to escape
  • Hiding
  • Restlessness
  • Inappropriate toileting

How to keep your pets calm and happy

When there are fireworks going off

This is probably the biggest problem you will have to deal with on NYE. Pets have much more sensitive hearing than we do, and with fireworks reaching 150 decibels, it’s no surprise cats and dogs feel terribly anxious when they go off. Here are a few ideas on how to keep your pet calm during firework displays:

  • Walk your dog before night falls
  • Exercise your pets so they are tired and will want to rest or sleep while the displays are going on (e.g. long walk for dogs, lots of playtime for cats)
  • Keep all pets indoors before and during displays
  • Close your curtains to block the bright lights 
  • Turn on the TV or radio to mask the loud noise
  • Plug in calming pheromone diffusers
  • Dress your pet in a Thundershirt
  • Do not leave the house (but don’t over-protect your pet either, just act natural, and they will follow your lead)

To know more about protecting your pet from fireworks, check out our detailed advice article.

When you have lots of guests in your house

This inevitably means lots of noises, smells, and a significant change in your pet’s habits. The following are ideas on how to keep your pet calm throughout a busy evening:

  • Make sure your pets have access to a quiet and secluded part of the house where they will not be disturbed
  • You can create a den area for your pet (such as an open-door crate), complete with his favourite toys and a shirt that smells like you
  • Give your pet a treat-dispensing toy (e.g. a Kong) to keep him occupied
  • Make sure your house and garden is secure so that your pet cannot run away 
  • To prepare for the worst case scenario, make sure ID tags and microchips are up to date

If you’re having a dinner party

New Year’s Eve is a time for drinking and feasting! But human foods can be very toxic to our pets, to a point where they can even be fatal. Some common NYE goodies to keep out of reach include:

  • Alcohol
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Chocolate

Feed your pets before your guests arrive so they are not too tempted to snatch a snack from them. Make sure guests in your house know not to feed your pets from their plates, and to be careful not to leave anything in their reach! If you must feed them a tasty treat in celebration of the New Year, a plain piece of turkey will do.

We are all looking forward to celebrating the New Year, but it’s very important we keep our pets’ health and happiness in mind when we do. The aforementioned tips are not exclusive, and should all be considered when you’re celebrating with cats and dogs in the house! And if you’re very worried, you can always consult your vet - an overly anxious pet can be prescribed calming medication.

Above all, enjoy your celebrations, and Happy New Year!