The end of the year is a time for celebration. Nights like New Year’s Eve can be some of the greatest party nights of the year – for humans. For our pets, they can be nights of strange noises and lights that can cause anxiety and other problems. Here’s how to ensure your pet gets through the festive celebrations safely.

Festive celebrations and your dog

Ask your vet in advance

Your vet knows your pet quite well, and you can convey to them any further information they need to recommend something specific for your pet. Chat to your local Greencross Vets team for advice, they can answer any questions you may have. This could include advice about measures to take on nights like New Year’s Eve such as purchasing Feliway for cats or Adaptil and a Thundershirt for dogs for increased comfort, or even medication if your pet suffers from anxiety. You can also switch your dog to Royal Canin Relax Care wet and dry dog food which is specially formulated to help dogs feel relaxed and calmly adapt to change. Chat to your local Greencross Vets to get the best advice for your pet.

Keep pets indoors

Cats and dogs both benefit from being indoors during fireworks displays and the noise and commotion of social events. A comfortable, familiar space in the family home, a cardboard box with a towel cover etc. will help make them feel secure and safe at home and more at ease. Cats will often seek out somewhere to hide during noisy events such as fireworks displays and will emerge again once the show is over. Dogs can benefit from further measures (if you’re out on the evening of a celebration, try putting on the television or some music to mask the noise form outside) – after all, their hearing is several times as sensitive as humans! Giving dogs access to a safe haven or den (for example a wardrobe or cupboard) that limits their sensory exposure to lights and noise can help them feel more secure.

Be careful with pets around guests

While many pets enjoy the limelight that comes with their humans’ social events, some pets don’t deal well with extra attention. Your pet will communicate how they feel about the extra people around – they may hide or stay away from the party. Ensure you allow them to escape from the mayhem, and it’s a good idea to ensure they have a safe area to retreat to if necessary. Also ensure that your visitors know that they shouldn’t feed your pet from the table. Some human food is dangerous to pets (see our tips for what your dog can’t eat over Christmas).

Fences and gates

This is a great opportunity to ensure your pet is unable to escape through any openings in their environment. While your pet loves you unreservedly, their sense of curiosity could lead them to wander. This is particularly likely around New Year’s Eve, where strange sounds, vibrations, smells and lights can confuse your pet and cause the flee instinct to kick in.

Microchips and contact details

Loud noises that pets are not used to can cause them to panic, and occasionally dogs especially can escape and flee. While you’ve probably taken all the steps to ensure this doesn’t happen, it’s best to make sure your pet is microchipped, and that your details are up to date. This way, if your dog does escape, it’s an easy matter for you to be contacted and your pet returned. You may also like to attach a GPS tracker to your pup’s collar so it’s easy to locate them should they go wandering.

Tucker them out

Another way to help prevent your pet from reacting badly to fireworks and festivities is to ensure they’re tired and well-fed. Take your dog for a reasonably long walk in the afternoon, and feed them properly at the correct time. A tired and well-fed dog may be less likely to get anxious when they hear loud noises or sees strange lights.

Rabbits, guinea pigs and small animals

Small pets are not immune to the sounds and lights of nights such as New Year’s Eve. Apply many of the same tips above to keep your rabbit or guinea pig feeling comfortable. Also ensure they’re safely at home in their hutch or living space with plenty of water and feed.

In addition, the RSPCA suggests pet owners look out for a range of other festive dates. For their recommendations regarding pets and fireworks, and more dates to be cautious of, click here.