It's New Year's Eve and we are not excited about it. Unfortunately, holidays involving loud bangs are never fun when you have two noise phobic dogs. Last year New Year's Eve wasn't that bad compared to the 4th of July. I'm really hoping that we will be ringing in the New Year quietly without too many fireworks going off.
Many pets are terrified of fireworks and other loud noises. These sorts of noises are hard to predict and even harder to work on with training. My dogs are usually over threshold immediately upon hearing the bangs or pops. Zoe is specifically terrified of the screamers but all bangs are scary to her.
Fireworks can cause a great deal of stress in dogs. Some signs to look for would include:
- Shaking or Trembling
- Barking or Howling
- Refusing to Eat Food
- Pacing, unable to settle
- Trying to hide or trying to get into or out of the house, fence or enclosure
- Loosing control of their bladder, bowels or anal glands.
Things we can do to help our dogs get through the night:
Exercise your dog early and make sure to walk them before it gets dark. I'm planning on running the girls several miles out at the big park in the afternoon. Hopefully they will be tired and sleep through any festivities that happen.
Keep your pets indoors! Many pets who are left outdoors during fireworks end up panicking and getting lost. If you must go outside, keep your dog on a leash attached to a harness. Harnesses are a lot harder to escape from. Pets should also be wearing ID tags with your most current information.
Close your curtains or blinds. Turn on your TV, fan or radio to provide them with some background noise and distraction.
Some dogs find hiding in their crate to be comforting. My dogs love their crates and I will often throw a blanket over their crates, too which gives them an extra sense of security.
If your dog will take food, you can try to keep them busy with a food puzzle toy, like a stuffed kong.
Medications: Some dogs do just fine with the noises but other dogs, like mine, are not easily calmed by petting or talking to them. They are just too upset by the noise. If nothing seems to work for your pet, you should speak to your veterinarian about appropriate medications to help them get through the holidays.
A word on over-the-counter remedies: We have tried many, many of these over the years and have not had any luck with them. Don't make the same mistake we did and ask your veterinarian for their advice right away if your dog is fearful.
Pets who are very frightened and who might hurt themselves should never be left alone.
Do your pets do okay with loud noises? What do you do to help them out if they are scared?
We hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve!