Partying with Pets: New Year’s Edition

Partying with Pets: New Year’s Edition  - A woman petting a dog at a festive dinner

New Year’s celebrations can bring holiday cheer and excitement, from fireworks displays to loud holiday music to attending a dance party, rooftop party, or dinner party. However, what is fun for you may be less fun for your furry friends. Know how to keep them safe and calm during all the chaos so you can watch the ball drop at midnight and enjoy the festivities with these tips:

  • Coordinate with party guests or hosts to prepare for fireworks, noise makers, firecrackers, etc.
  • Keep your pets out of alcohol and other substances
  • Ensure they can not escape your home and prepare a safe sanctuary away from all the noise
  • Choose your pet for your New Year's Eve date, and have a calm night in with them

New Year’s Eve is a time of great anticipation for everyone—except your pets. Loud noises from fireworks, music, and parties, strange people, and lots of food, drinks, and holiday decorations for them to get into, makes New Year’s Eve a source of anxiety for your pets. Here are some helpful tips so you can enjoy the party with your furry friends.

How can I party and still keep my pets safe?

Around this time of year, you are most likely taking down stockings, trees, and other holiday decorations, but the holiday cheer is still ongoing. The night of December 31st can also bring people together for the celebration. Whether you plan on bringing your animals along for the festivities or leaving them at home, be aware of some of the problems that can arise from loud noises coming from fireworks, noise makers, and firecrackers. You will enjoy the festivities much better if you take these precautions to protect your furry friend.

Loud noises can easily trigger pets, such as dogs and cats, so ensure they have a safe sanctuary, whether at home or out at a party. Noise aversion, a phobia triggered by loud sounds, can occur in your feline friends and dogs. If the reaction is disproportionate to the noise's danger, your animals might be dealing with anxiety that can continue after the uproar ends. Noise aversion affects approximately one in three canines. Other animals experience this phobia less commonly, but cats can also be triggered by loud noises. When ringing in the new year, watch your animals. If they begin to whine, pace, vocalize, or become aggressive, they may not like the loud noises.

Help animals stay calm during New Year’s fireworks

Fireworks are a common cause of anxiety in canines. Follow these tips to keep them calm during the light display.

  • Create a safe space such as a closet, bathroom, or crate that doesn't have access to the outdoors.
  • Consider bringing outdoor animals indoors for the duration of the show to avoid direct contact with bright lights and loud noises.
  • During the fireworks and noisemakers, keep white noise or music playing to mask the stimuli that may be causing anxiety.
  • Expose animals to sounds at low volume while gradually increasing them to desensitize them to the noises beforehand.
  • Cats get frightened by fireworks. Know the signs of anxiety in your animal, such as panting or trembling.
  • Short-acting or long-acting medication is available for dogs. Consult a veterinarian before giving any drug remedy.
  • Use anxiety vests, or an alternative is a snug-fitting T-shirt to keep them at peace.
  • Promptly clean up any substances, chemicals, foods, or garbage, including party favors and gift wrap, that may harm your pet.

When leaving animals at home, precautions must be taken to keep them safe. As a pet parent, ensure they have a form of ID attached to their collars at all times. Animals tend to flee when frightened. Whether you take them with you on your outing or they manage a breakout while at home, you need a plan to find them in the worst-case scenario. Pets may get anxious during loud noises, including loud holiday music. So double-check that all exits are secured to avoid this emergency. Also, remove anything potentially harmful (plants, foods, medications) they could get into if they begin to stress.

Is alcohol bad for my pet?

Assuming most New Year’s Eve parties will contain alcoholic beverages with champagne toasts, all pet parents should know that animals can not consume any type of alcohol. Even one mixed drink can be fatal for a small dog. Dogs especially love to sniff out food. Some snacks and drinks, such as chocolate or hot cocoa, can be filled with alcohol so keep anything alcohol-related out of pets' reach. Here are some symptoms of alcohol ingestion in pets:

With the legalization of cannabis (marijuana), more cases of animals getting into pot or pot edibles are popping up. Keep these out of reach as well, as this substance can harm animals. Here are some symptoms of cannabis ingestion in pets:

  • Unsteady
  • Sleepy
  • Jumpy or easy to startle
  • Dilated pupils
  • Urinary accidents

If you think your furry friends have gotten their paws into your New Year’s Eve party favors, contact a veterinarian immediately, as well as the APCC, to avoid the worst-case scenario.

Tips for keeping your pet happy during the festivities

A few other tips to follow to keep your animals secure while you are popping the champagne are:

  • Know your location. Whether at home, a friend's, or a vacation rental, make sure your furry family feels comfortable. Prepare safe spaces inside for them to spend the evening.
  • Pick up all the leftovers. Be sure to pick up any leftovers from festive treats and delicious food you and your friends devour, including hot cocoa. Human treats can cause an upset stomach in pets, and some - like chocolate - can cause life-threatening toxicosis.
  • Clean up any decor. Keep party favors out of reach. Animals do not have the best judgment when deciding what is edible, so we must watch out for them. Provide dog-friendly treats and holiday-themed dog treats to keep them occupied.
  • Coordinate with family and friends. If your party guests plan to bring pets, coordinate your pets’ interactions. New Year's Eve is for celebrating new healthy habits and personal improvement. We do not need any catfighting while ringing in the new year.

What are some party alternatives I can enjoy with my pet?

While prepping for a safe evening for you and your beloved pets, relax and have fun. There are plenty of alternative family activities you can do with your pet. Choose a cozy movie night with your pups on the couch. The internet loves funny snapshots of our pets in crazy costumes. Dress up your feline friend for the occasion and share with your friends. You can add food to the holiday cheer. Instead of human treats, bake your pets dog-friendly treats or holiday-themed cat treats. They might even thank you with a New Year’s slobbery kiss - if you’re lucky.

Whether you are toasting with your animals or not, come midnight, we want to ensure your furry family is safe and happy. If you have any concerns regarding your New Year's Eve outing and want to plan ahead, book a virtual appointment with Vetster so you can be worry-free and focus on your other new year resolutions.

Happy New Year!

FAQ - Avoiding New Year’s Eve stress with pets

Can a pet's hearing be affected by fireworks?

Pets’ ears can be damaged by loud noises the same as a human’s, but fireworks are usually not loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss.

Are dogs safer from fireworks in the home or outside?

Even though you may think your pets want to be party animals as much as you do, dogs can be sensitive to loud noises, bright lights, and strong smells. So to avoid anxiety, leave your canine friends at home with some white noise in the background, like the TV or radio.

Do anti-stress jackets work for pets during loud activities?

Being swaddled in an anti-stress jacket seems to provide relief for some dogs, but doesn't work at all for others. They apply pressure along the dog's back, almost imitating a tight hug. Be sure to put the coat on your pet before the party begins so they can get used to it and not associate the vest with being frightened and keep in mind that they are only intended for use under supervision.

Can I leave my pet home alone while I go to New Year’s Eve festivities?

Yes, many pets prefer the safety, comfort, and familiarity of home over being included in holiday festivities.

The Vetster Editorial Team is comprised of seasoned writers and communicators dedicated to elevating stories about Vetster, pets and their owners.

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