Dogs and New Year's Eve just don't go hand in hand. Many dogs become anxious and nervous around New Year's, and react violently to the loud bangs and bright flashes of light that come with the festive fireworks.
However, there are some different pieces of advice you can try to help your dog with his anxiety – we give five of them here.
1. Get the dog used to sudden and loud noises in advance
It can be a really good idea to practice with the dog before New Year's Eve. The more the dog is used to hearing new loud noises around him, the more mentally prepared he will be for New Year's Eve.
However, you should not start shooting gunpowder at the dog, but simply create a safe space for the exploration of new sounds. You can make it a game for the dog, for example by hiding treats in a plastic bottle or similar, which you cut holes in, and then hide among other plastic bottles. The dog then has to find the right one, and during its search the plastic bottles will make a sound.
It can also be effective to play recordings of fireworks, first low and later louder and louder. In that case, it is best to give the dog good treats so that he associates the sounds with something positive, and hopefully on New Year's Eve he will think more about the treats you have ready for him than the dangerous sounds.
2. Do not scold the dog
It is important not to scold the dog for being scared on New Year's Eve. After all, the goal is for the dog to have a positive experience around the event, and no matter how much you scold, the dog will not understand and may simply become even more uneasy about the situation. Instead, you should be there for the dog when it shows anxiety. Give it positive attention and treats, all the while remaining calm and patient about the situation.
3. Create security around the dog
To strengthen the dog's sense of security, you can make a small cave for the dog in advance, for example in its cage. Cover it with blankets that shield the light from the fireworks, make a soft and nice bottom and put the favorite toys and the best snacks in there.
Another way to create security in some dogs is also by wearing one of our drying blankets . Several of our customers have told us how they use the drying blanket on New Year's Eve because their dog feels warm and safe in it and often gets sleepy. It is another way to create a calming 'den' for the dog.
4. Go for long walks early in the day
It is classic and good advice to go for long walks on New Year's Eve. The earlier you are out, the less noise and banging there will be. Go for a long walk somewhere out in nature, away from the city, and let the dog use both legs and nose, so that it is stimulated both physically and mentally before the evening sets in.
5. Anti-anxiety medication
If your dog feels absolutely terrible and nothing helps, then you may need to try anti-anxiety medication. You must, of course, talk to your vet about it, so that together you can find the most appropriate remedy for your particular dog.
If you are very against using medicine, the best solution in difficult cases is to have the dog cared for somewhere where New Year's Eve is not so violent. For example, at a remote dog boarding house that offers care specifically for anxious New Year's dogs.
We hope one or more of these tips can help your dog and wish you a wonderful New Year's Eve!