You might think it’s just like any other day for your dog – but think again. According to the German animal welfare organization TASSO, New Year’s Eve is the day of the year when more furry friends are reported lost than any other. In the United States, the only other day on which more pets go missing is the Fourth of July.
Fireworks, noise and loud music can turn even the bravest dog into a scared puppy. When your dog is scared, they have the natural instinct to go and find shelter.
Dogs are more likely to run away on nights like New Year’s Eve due to the following reasons:
- Loud noises, like parties, fireworks, music
- Large crowds of people
- Unfamiliar surroundings
- A change to their normal routine
Under these unusual circumstances, your dog may run away or hide at the first opportunity they get. This is why it’s important to follow the advice below to keep your dog safe, calm, and happy this New Year’s Eve.
1. Make sure your dog gets plenty of physical activity.
One way to ensure that your dog will be more relaxed and calm on New Year’s Eve is to tire them out a bit during the day. Take your regular dog walks, and go a bit further or on a more uphill path than you normally would. Track your dog’s physical activity with an activity monitor for dogs to ensure they get enough exercise. This way, your dog will be calm and more likely to have a good sleep in the evening.
Be extra careful during dog walks outdoors.
It’s important to be extra careful while walking your dog, since some people test out fireworks ahead of New Year’s Eve, or set them off even before it’s dark out. As we mentioned above, loud noises (especially a sudden bang) might scare your dog and trigger their instinct to run away. So keep your dog on a leash, and make sure their collar ID tag and GPS tracker are properly attached. In case your dog bolts, you’ll be able to track and find them with the help of your tracker.
2. Create a safe space for your dog indoors.
As a general rule, keep your dog inside. If you are hosting someone for New Year’s Eve, think ahead and dedicate a room or a confined space to your dog. Fill the space with your dog’s bed sheets – some food, if you wish – and other familiar items. This room will be your dog’s safe place during the evening.
If you have plans to be somewhere, it would be best to find a friend or family member (with more relaxed New Year’s Eve plans) and ask them to look after your dog for the evening. Together, they can watch TV or listen to some relaxing music (see the video below), and enjoy a peaceful New Year’s Eve together.
Did you know? Dogs can hear four times as well as humans². So fireworks, firecrackers, and the like may cause extreme stress in your furry friend. If possible, take your dog to a quiet place, away from the party or fireworks. If they could, your dog would thank you for it.
Keep up routines involving sleep, food and water.
Always make sure that your dog has access to water and food. Keep to their daily routines, and try to make sure your dog goes to sleep at their usual time. Routines will help a dog to feel safe and secure. By doing this, your dog will feel more relaxed and less inclined to run off if scared. Above all, make sure to feed your furry friend in calm moments to avoid the risk of swallowing or choking.
3. Keep your dog away from dangerous substances.
Keep in mind that on this day, there might be unusual substances around which are actually toxic to your dog – so don’t forget to protect your dog from these dog poisons. Dangerous substances include:
- Fireworks, sparklers
- Cigarettes and drugs, including second hand marijuana smoke²
- Toxic houseplants
- Salty snacks
- Meat with bones
It should be self-explanatory, but keep your dog away from the firework festivities. Your dog might get hurt or accidentally poisoned. And do not let your dog ingest any alcohol, human foods, or drugs. Dogs who have consumed alcohol may become lethargic, vomit, have difficulty walking, or even experience drops to blood pressure and body temperature³.
Especially if you’re at a friend’s house or away from home; there might be unknown dangerous substances around. You don’t want to have to take an emergency visit to the vet on what could be one of the most fun days of the year. So protect your dog from these dangers!
4. Keep your dog busy.
Dogs are very curious animals. To counter the excitement and bustle of New Year’s Eve, find alternative ways to entertain your dog. Try buying a new toy; if a dog has something new to play with, they are far less likely to care about what’s going on around them.
Either give them their favorite treat so they can associate the noise with positive things or give them their favorite chew toy or a kong filled with peanut butter to keep them busy.
5. Spend quality time together.
Try to spend as much time with your dog on New Year’s Eve as you can. Since they are likely to be frightened on this day, be sure that when you engage with your dog, you do so calmly.
So; what to do on New Year’s Eve with your dog to spend quality time together? Here are some ideas:
- Play ball – while you watch the ball drop. Your dog’s favorite round toy will be sure to bring joy to their little heart.
- Have a movie marathon.
- Take a holiday together – somewhere peaceful.
- Host a small, dog-friendly gathering – invite your dog friends!
- Bake dog (and human) treats together.
- Build a fort together.
- Listen to calming music.
6. Turn on the radio or TV
Turning on the TV or radio will not only help muffle the sound, but the constant noise will help distract him. Soothing music will help the most, but turn on the radio or TV a few hours before the festivities begin so your dog can associate the noise with peace and comfort.
6. Speak with your veterinarian
If you have a cat or dog that is overly anxious, let them help you. The coming holiday will only heighten your pet’s nerves.
Conclusion: What to do on New Year’s Eve with your dog
Here’s a summary of what we’ve covered, in one helpful checklist:
- Make sure your dog gets plenty of activity beforehand.
- Keep an eye on them at all times with a dog GPS tracker – and try your best to keep them away from harmful substances.
- Reassure your dog and keep them entertained.
That way, you can ensure a smooth and successful New Year’s Eve for both you and your furry friend.
Now that you know what to do on New Year’s Eve to keep your dog safe and sound – from Yourbestfriendshop we wish you a lovely holiday celebration!