New Year’s Eve and Your Anxious Dog

December 30, 2020 | We Learn | Tips from Sarah Clarkson

2020 has been a trying year for many of us, and if you are like most, you are happy to see the end of the year ushered in by  traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations.  But take care not to make all the reveling too “ruff” on your four-legged friend! 

If your dog is easily startled and made anxious by loud noises, New Years Eve might be stressful for him.  Like thunderstorms, the unexplained bangs and flashes of fireworks displays can be terrifying to a dog.  Here are some tips on how to share your celebration – safely – with your dog:

  • Be sure to get your dog out for plenty of exercise before the festivities begin.  If he is nicely stimulated from activities earlier in his day, he may be more likely to be tired and remain calm during the night.   

  • Give your dog the security of a small, indoor space.  If he is crate trained, make sure to confine him before the fireworks start so that he feels safe.  If he isn’t crate trained, a room with familiar scents and soft surfaces (like a bedroom) can help.  Be sure to close the doors and lower the window shades to dampen and sounds and lights.  Turning on a sound machine, the television on low volume, or even gentle music might help muffle any scary sounds.

Like thunderstorms, the unexplained bangs and flashes of fireworks displays can be terrifying to a dog.

  • Some dogs have shown the ability to remain calm more easily with the help of melatonin.  Melatonin is a naturally occurring neurohormone that can be found at a local health food store.  Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before administering anything to your pet!  Your doctor can recommend dosage and may have some additional remedies and advice to offer.

  • Finally, stay calm!  Don’t exhibit your own stress, even if you are worried for your dog.  Behaving as though everything is fine will help him feel safe.  Remember to never punish your dog for being afraid, even if his behavior and training is negatively impacted.  Your reaction will make him even more fearful.  Instead, you should distract him with toys and treats.  Play with him calmly and lovingly so that there is a positive association made for future loud, celebratory events!

Image by markito from Pixabay 

If you enjoyed this post, you should read Make it a Happy Howliday - Give, Foster or Adopt! here.

How will you ring in the new year with your four-legged friend?

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