New Year’s Fireworks Warnings for Pet Parents
According to PetAmberAlert, more pets go missing between July 4-6 than at any other time of the year, thanks to fireworks. Fireworks are synonymous with July Fourth. They’re also synonymous with New Year’s Eve. While New Year’s Eve firework celebrations tend to be a bit tamer than Independence Day extravaganzas, pets can’t tell the difference. To our pets, any fireworks are terrifying, and it’s our job, as pet owners, to keep them safe.
8 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe During the New Year Fireworks
1. Keep your pets inside.
Even if you typically take your dog for a long walk late in the evening, it’s safer to skip it or shorten it on New Year’s Eve. Many partygoers don’t wait until the stroke of midnight to set off fireworks. If you’re out with your dog and he’s startled by a loud explosion, he could bolt into the darkness. Of course, if you do walk your dog on New Year’s Eve or day, keep him restrained on a leash. Even if you normally leave your dogs outside in the backyard unattended and usually have not issues, fireworks could frighten them. Frightened dogs are more likely to try to escape by digging under or jumping over fences, or squeezing through gates.
2. Keep doors secure.
If you plan to watch fireworks from your porch or balcony, keep doors securely shut so your pet doesn’t squeeze through and escape. If your pet escapes in the darkness, he’s much more likely to become lost, struck by a vehicle, or taken by someone. Even if your pet has never bolted through an open door before, fear from fireworks could elicit a flight response.
3. Surround them with comfort.
Be present for your pet. Simply knowing you’re nearby can provide reassurance. If your pet has a crate that’s normally kept in another part of your house, bring it into whatever room you’ll be in as midnight approaches. Speak to your pet in soothing tones and provide plenty of TLC! If you have a strict off-the-furniture policy, New Year’s Eve might warrant making an exception to this rule.
4. Sedate them.
Some pets suffer extreme anxiety when exposed to loud sounds like thunder and fireworks. If you know your pet is prone to this, speak to your vet before New Year’s Eve and ask whether a sedative may be in order. Vets also sometimes prescribe anti-anxiety medications for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, but these medications take time to deliver results. Your vet can provide guidance.
5. Board your pet.
If you won’t be home to comfort your pets, consider boarding them at a facility that’s not located near any residential areas or planned fireworks celebrations. Make sure to explain why you’re considering boarding them (to keep them away from the sounds of fireworks), and ask them about their protocol for comforting anxious pets.
6. Vacation with them.
If you prefer to ring in the New Year peacefully and aren’t interested in lavish parties or fireworks displays, you could plan a short getaway with your pet. You could rent a remote pet-friendly cabin or cottage and have a quiet celebration.
7. Drown the sights and sounds.
Keep your windows, curtains, and blinds closed as midnight approaches. You can muffle the frightening booms and crashes by turning up the volume on your stereo or TV.
8. Talk to your neighbors.
If you’re not located near the site of a planned fireworks show, you could talk to your neighbors and ask if they plan to discharge fireworks. If you learn that your immediate neighbors do plan to celebrate with fireworks, you’ll know for certain you need to prepare.
Whether you hunker down at home and try to create a peaceful ambiance for your pet, decide to get out of dodge, or plan to leave your pet home while you head out to a city fireworks extravaganza, make a plan for your pets before New Year’s Eve. The last thing you want is to spend the beginning of 2019 searching for a lost pet!