Keeping Your Dog Calm and Happy During New Year's Celebrations

Jan 01, 2020     |      Sophie's Circle

A dog with New Year's glitter and other party decorationsHappy New Year! Those words are joyfully spoken amidst the blasts and crackles of beautiful fireworks displays while friends and family gather together to celebrate the start of 2020. However, depending on your dog's anxiety levels, your four-legged friend may have a less happy experience during such events with loud sounds and lots of unfamiliar faces. To reduce your dog's stress levels and keep him safe and happy over the New Year's festivities, use these top recommended tips.

Keep Your Routine
Dogs thrive with daily routines because it helps them know a walk is coming when you get home from work and then they get to have dinner followed by cuddle time. With routines, they can trust all there needs will be met and everything is right with the world. They cannot understand how special events that are loud and stimulating like New Year's celebrations are a good thing, especially when these events alter their own highly anticipated daily activities. While some dogs are more go-with-the-flow and simply happy to be with you wherever you roam, a change in routine can cause dogs with anxious tendencies to become overly stressed.

If your loyal furry companion shows signs of being nervous with changes to his routine, try to schedule your activities around it to allow time for exercise and other needs to be met in addition to avoiding undue stress. Also, keep calm and relaxed as you dress and leave to meet your friends and family. When hosting a party, plan ahead as much as possible to set up your home so that you are not having to rush around before your guests arrive. The more routine your day appears to your dog, the less anxiety he will experience. 

Use his Safe Space
Everyone needs a comforting spot in the home. Dogs are no exception. This is particularly true when they are frightened or upset. Be sure to place more sensitive dogs in an appropriately-sized crate, room, or fenced area for them to feel protected and secure before being left alone at an unusual time or during loud or stimulating events. However, the gate or door should be left open for dogs who may injure themselves in an attempt to get out. Try giving them an old t-shirt or towel with your scent on it to add a layer of comfort in these spaces with non-chewers until you return. Moreover, favorite toys and treats can provide an excellent distraction for you to walk out the door as long as they are safe for your pet's size and chewing ability.

Use a Leash
Is your event dog-friendly? Sweet! Your dog would love to be your plus one for the occasion! Just don't forget his leash as there will likely be foods and drinks served at the party that can be harmful to him. Remember, even small amounts of alcohol can cause metabolic acidosis, a potentially dangerous condition that impacts a dog's central nervous system. Bones can be choking hazards or splinter. Grapes and raisins, nuts and seeds, onions and chives, xylitol, dairy, and caffeine products are some other foods items that pose a threat to your dog's health and well-being. Keeping him on lead will remove any worries of him eating dropped food on the floor or finding abandoned plates. Additionally, he may need a leash to prevent jumping on guests, playing too excitedly with guests or other dogs, or run away from stress. 

Enjoy the Show Indoors on TV 
Would you rather stay home in your cozy Snuggie eating pizza and watching the fireworks show on television? No judgments here! This is the safest and least anxiety-causing way for your dog to enjoy the celebratory events. The only added stress to manage would be from the sound of fireworks outside if you live near where they are setting them off. Should he hear fireworks and show signs of fear, maintain a calm disposition, distract him with familiar toys and activities like fetch, and make sure he is able to retreat to his safe space.

In conclusion, there are several things you can do to keep your furry best friend safe and happy over New Year's and during any celebratory event. Staying calm, not skipping your routine activities like walks for exercise and a stress-reducer, putting him on a leash when you take him outside of the home, and using a safe space with comforting smells and fun distractions are some easy tips you can apply this holiday. If you have not yet found your four-legged friend and you are looking to adopt one for 2020, visit our adoption page and browse our catalog of adorable adoptees. You may be joining a long list of rescue owners that believe adopting a dog was one of the best decisions you've made!