When the clock strikes midnight, crowds will cheer, couples will kiss, and fireworks will light up the sky. It’s a New Year’s tradition that’s beloved by all – except the family pets. The loud noise can upset the furry members of our families, but there are steps you can take to make your pets feel safe.
- Take your pet’s fear seriously. Sure, you know fireworks are supposed to be fun, but your pet doesn’t understand this, and the loud explosions can be quite terrifying. Although you might find your pet’s misplaced fear adorable, don’t just laugh it off. Offer comfort and find ways of reducing the fear. (Reading this post is a good start!)
- Keep your pets contained and inside. If your pets are outside, the fireworks will seem even louder and brighter – and more frightening. Pets have been known to run off when they get scared. Nobody wants to start the year looking for a lost dog. Keep your animals safe by bringing them inside. And in case your pet every does wander off, use a collar with ID tags, and talk to your vet about microchipping.
- Block out the sound and lights. Your pet can’t be afraid of the fireworks if it doesn’t notice them. Close the curtains and consider playing some soothing – or at least distracting – music. If the noise will be less noticeable in one part of the house, put your pets there.
- Invest in a calming vest. Some dogs appear to find snug vests or shirts soothing. At the very least, it will keep your dog warm on a cool night. There are several products available, including the well-known ThunderShirt.
- Consider medication. If your pet’s anxiety is extreme enough to make your pet miserable or to pose an actual danger, talk to your vet about the possibility of sedatives. In some cases, this may be the best way to keep the animal safe and happy.
- Follow the law. The Honolulu Police Department posted a reminder that firecrackers are legal when purchased with a permit, and they can be set off between 9:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and 1:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Using other fireworks or setting them off at other times is prohibited. Breaking the rules could cause extra stress to your pets – and result in a jail sentence of up to five years and a fine of $2,000.
Here’s wishing you and your pets a safe (and stress-free) holiday celebration!