Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve Safety for Dogs

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
  • Drooling
  • 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!


  1. Here in MN it is simply too cold out, so people don't do stuff outside, therefore, no noises. Katie is the only one who has a fear of the booming, but now that she is almost deaf, she doesn't hear it, it doesn't matter. Have a safe and fun New Year's Eve.

  2. Great post! Fireworks are tough on dogs!

  3. I assumed that most of the gun dog characteristics were bred out of Honey since she's from a companion dog line. But I feel lucky that she still tolerates loud noises.

    She did, however, have one bad night during a thunderstorm. Nothing I did could comfort her. She was panting and restless.

    Finally I took her downstairs to work on a new trick--shutting the kitchen cupboards. The storm was still going strong but she was able to ignore it in the joy of training. And when we went back to bed, she fell right to sleep.

    It certainly wouldn't work for a dog way over threshold. But perhaps some early training work would also help the girls tire out so they could sleep through the noise.

  4. Hopefully what Emma said will hold true in CT too. While I don't intend to be out at midnight, I was planning on attending a little house party. Perhaps I'll plan on leaving earlier since Sampson has been so freaky about noises ever since that smoke alarm incident.

    Thanks for this great reminder and Happy New Year to you and the crew!

  5. Only one dog, Chamois, is afraid of noises. The Poodles and I try to explain about the celebratory nature of fireworks and sparklers, but she doesn't get it. Have a safe and happy new year.

  6. Great reminder, thanks!
    here's to a great 2016!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  7. I give B Benadryl (vet recommended) a few hours before it starts. Last year wasn't too bad because we had freezing temperatures and even a dusting of snow. But this year it's only in the low 40s so people will be out. I have two box fans going and we are hunkered down in a bedroom with the door shut. B is noise sensitive so even though I have the opportunity to participate in a fun game night at church, I stay home with B. Happy New Year and may we all make it through it okay, especially with our dogs that can't stand the noise.

  8. We were hoping it wouldn't happen, but our neighbors were setting off fireworks last night. Luke will just take himself down to the cellar and stay there until it's done. Sheba is not bothered by them but our beagle Cricket hates them. We were in bed watching TV, so I put her under the covers and just snuggled her until they were done. We turned the TV up and put the ceiling fan on. She did pretty well that way. She has some all natural anti-anxiety pills that can help her, but not knowing whether there would be any I hadn't even thought to give her one.


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