Some pets are calm little souls and barely flinch at a startling crash or bang. Others find them unbearable. New Year’s Eve is infamous for clamorous sounds, none of which rattle your pets quite like fireworks. Though the raucousness of welcoming in the New Year can be difficult to avoid, there are ways to help your pet through it.
Know their happy place
Some pets have a favourite spot they love to hide in or under. Some have crates that double-up as beds and therefore feel secure. Encouraging them into these happy hidey holes is a great way to reassure your pet that they are safe. Avoid confining them unless they are willing, and it’s in a space they naturally associate with calm and protection. You could otherwise risk their injury if they decide to claw, push or chew their way out.
Exercise your pet to calm
Break out the feathered wands, bright ribbons and squeaky toys. Giving your cat as much play as they can handle will bring on a pleasant state of tiredness that helps dull their sensitivity to any disturbing noises outside. The same goes for your dog. As much exercise as they can handle—a walk around Garden of the Gods or a trip to Bear Creek Dog Park are some of our favorites—will ease stress.
Redirect their focus
Distraction can be an effective way to give your pet a good reason to ignore the revelry beyond your threshold. Offering them a new toy, their favourite food, or treats like peanut butter (for dogs) will redirect their focus to something far more interesting and tasty.
Fight noise with noise
Playing your pet’s favourite program on TV, or gentle classical music can help calm them on New Year’s Eve. At all other times of year, getting them used to loud noises by listening to music with frequent symbols and brass instruments, recordings of thunderstorms or good movie soundtracks might help. Star Wars is known to work well for this exercise. Reward your pet with a treat each time they stay calm during a loud segment of music.
Love your pet
There’s a school of thought that believes ignoring your pet’s anxiety will avoid encouraging it. But putting yourself in their place is a sure way to understand exactly why they need your affection. Lead by example: stay calm. Show gentle affection and reward their good behaviour with treats. Don’t limit cuddles, kisses, head scratches or tummy rubs.
Ask your vet
Vets are great sources of advice especially if your pet has been in their long-term care. If you’re considering medication or alternative remedies to relieve your pets nervousness, your vet can offer suggestions that work best based on knowledge of their medical history.
If nothing seems to help your anxious pet then skipping town for the night to join friends or family who live in quieter areas might be a good idea, keeping in mind to limit travel that might cause your pet a different kind of stress. If you have a dog and live in a state with warmer weather, a camping trip could be an ideal solution.