New Year’s Eve in Denmark is something not to be missed. It’s a festive, celebratory occasion that only the Danes know how to do best. But, let’s be honest, it is a bit like a war zone outside! During my first New Year’s Eve in Denmark, I saw party-goers with goggles, helmets, and body armour. Although I barely survived (think the stress-reducing alcohol was key), I remember thinking, “What about all the pets?”
While you’re out enjoying the party, your pet may be at home stressed, trembling, and scared. Fireworks can be loud, bright, and frightening to our four-legged family members. They can raise stress levels and lead to unwanted behaviour. Here are some things to look for and suggestions on how to calm your pet’s fears so that everyone has a good time ringing in the new year.
Be Aware of These Signs of Stress in Cats and Dogs
- Not eating
- Soiling accidents around the house
- Hiding behind or under furniture
- Attempting to escape
- Excessive panting, clinging to owners or barking (dogs)
- Excessive salivation
- Self-inflicted trauma
Preparing Your Pet for New Year’s Eve
It’s important to start the preparation process as early as possible. Create a safe haven for your pet to hide in by creating a nice cosy den, for example. Gather sheets, blankets, and cushions to soundproof the area. Add your pet’s favourite toys and leave a treat or two nearby. For dogs, this cosy den might be behind the couch or in a quiet room. For cats, try a cat tree with a covered area to help them feel safe. Pheromone plugins are also an option. Or maybe your cat or dog has a calming jacket to wear. And although this is not a preferred option, some pets require light sedation because they can seriously hurt themselves or others. This should be done with the advice and consent of your veterinarian.
Speaking of New Year’s Eve; do you have a resolution? Our resolution is to teach pet owners how to brush their pet’s teeth!
Calming Your Pet’s Fears
Make sure to take your dog for a walk before the fireworks begin. Close curtains, windows, and balcony doors. Turn on the tv or radio for ambient noise or music to mask the sounds of the fireworks. Have your pet’s favourite toys and treats scattered around the house and in their safe space. Depending on your pet’s character, you may need to prepare for some cuddle time or just letting your pet be alone if that’s what they prefer. It’s important for you to stay calm yourself. If you’re anxious or excited, your pet will pick up on it. So, make sure you’re relaxed and are a calming presence for your nervous pet. Don’t punish your pet if things don’t go according to plan. It’s not your pet’s fault and it will only contribute to more stress and will lead to an unpleasant experience. Instead of responding negatively, keep in mind that pets respond better to positive reinforcements. Don’t forget to use words of praise and treats to reward good behaviour.
Regardless of how you and your pet choose to spend New Year’s Eve, keep in mind that My Peterinarian is here year-round. It’s not just about pet sitting when you are out of town. We understand that sometimes you have to put in long days at the office. Not only do we provide exercise and attention for your pet, but by choosing us you’ll have the advantage of having a veterinarian look after your pet. My Peterinarian is owned by a trained veterinarian. Give us a call today and let us help you put the pampered in your pet!