How to Keep Pets Calm during NYE Celebrations
Hoo-mans look forward to counting down the New Year and watching the beautiful fireworks as we celebrate the promise tomorrow brings. However, despite their beauty, fireworks pose a safety threat to our pets. The loud, unpredictable noise can cause fear and anxiety and even trigger their fight or flight instinct. Here are AHS’ tips and tricks to help your pet remain comfortable during the New Year celebration excitement, with Behavior Specialist Bryana Peters, CPDT-KA.
The key to success with most anything is preparation. So, it’s best to start preparing for the festivities the day before the fireworks (December 30th) to ensure your pet is ready.
Next, follow these steps to assist your pet with self-regulation so they can tolerate the noise:
- A bit of training and desensitization can go a long way to help dogs be more confident with loud, startling sounds:
- Play a YouTube video with half volume of fireworks paired with lots of yummy high-value treats to help change how your dog reacts to fireworks noise.
- Ensure all pets are properly tagged and microchipped:
- Make certain your pet has a properly fitted collar with ID tags on and is microchipped. This will help should your pet escape during the excitement and become lost.
- Ensure all pets are indoors and offer a safe place while the noise takes place:
- This can be a crate (if already acclimated and comfortable), a bedroom with hiding spots, or wherever they feel safest.
- Block the visual or audio stimuli:
- Put some background noise on. This can be comforting classical or jazz music, even the TV or radio.
- Draw the curtains closed to prevent the bright flashes of lights.
- Provide some exciting enrichment toys stuffed with your pet’s favorite high-value treats:
- This can be a Kong frozen with peanut butter, snuffle matts with tasty high-value treats hidden, or any other type of interactive enrichment.
- Have these frozen prior to fireworks to help ensure the enrichment lasts a bit longer. These can help distract a stressed pet.
- Consider a Thundershirt:
- ThunderShirts are a calming wrap that applies gentle, constant pressure to a dog’s torso to help them feel safe and calm. It is best to have a pet test the ThunderShirt a few times prior to the holiday.
- Report Pets in Distress:
- To report signs of animals in distress, please call AHS’ Emergency Animal Medical Technicians™ at 602.997.7585 ext. 2073. For more information on lost or found pets, visit azhumane.org/lostpet.
- See AHS’ tip sheet on noise desensitization for behavior modification tips.