Humans love New Year’s Eve – we look forward to it and for many of us, it’s one of the biggest highlights of the year. Our dogs, unfortunately, aren’t so enamoured of the event – especially when it comes to fireworks.
Many animals, including our dogs, are terrified of fireworks. Not only are the flashing lights something they don’t understand and likely associate with lightning and storms; the loud noise of fireworks is particularly frightening. Dogs have hearing which is much more sensitive than ours; they hear twice as many frequencies as humans do and their range of hearing is four times further than ours.
Sadly, the fireworks displays we love so much triggers fear and panic in many dogs – and more dogs run away on nights with fireworks displays than any other time.
Dogs that flee from fireworks (loud noises and flashes of light) may:
- Become lost
- Get injured
- Dig under fences
- Jump through plate glass windows
- Be hit by cars
Looking After your Dog for New Year and Australia Day
Dogs get a double-hit at this time of year – Fireworks at 9 pm and midnight on December 31st and again on January 26th.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your dog and keep him calm.
- Make sure your dog is microchipped with current contact details, and always wears an ID collar and tag with his name and your mobile phone number.
- Take your dog for a long walk during the day or early evening so that he is comfortably worn out. Dog walking is a great way to elicit a calm state for your pet.
- After exercise, give your dog a meal – a tired dog that is well-fed will possible be less anxious.
- Don’t leave your dog outside alone on New Year’s Eve or Australia Day.
- If you’re going to be away on holidays, arrange safe and suitable pet sitting accommodations for your dog so he won’t be alone. Have him stay with a family member or trusted friend who will be home, or board him at a quality kennel.
- If you’re around but going out for the night, keep Fido indoors in a safe, quiet room away from the commotion. It can be a great idea to put him in a travel kennel inside where he can feel secure and be safe.
- If you are at home, keep your dog with you, remain calm, offer lots of love and reassurance, and take him inside at the time the fireworks are due to go off. Close doors, blinds, and curtains and give him a place to hide. If he’s very excitable, shut him in a laundry or closed garage where he’ll be secure.
- Distract your dog with games, treats, and cuddles.
- Never tether your dog by his collar – he can choke or otherwise injure himself.
- Never restrain with a choke chain
- Never punish fear or anxiety
Fireworks are loud, unpredictable, and animals don’t understand them. They perceive them as threatening. Loud noises trigger anxiety; coupled with flashes of light and the burning smell of fireworks, your pet may become overwhelmed or panic on the night of the biggest party of the year. With some forethought and attention, you can keep your dog safe and happy.