Dazzling lights, toasting champagne, watching the ball drop – what better way to celebrate the start of 2024 than by watching New Year’s Eve fireworks light up the skies?
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Fireworks may be an exciting spectacle for us humans, but they can be a harrowing experience for dogs and cats. Loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms are the cause of nearly 1 in 5 lost pets, a survey from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found.
While we raise our glasses to the new year, here’s how to keep your furry friends safe and happy:
Petting your dog
If possible, your dog should stay home with at least one human so it can be reassured if it gets anxious. Stay with your pet in a room that has minimal windows and play soft music or a movie to distract from fireworks and other noises. A little affection goes a long way – one of the best ways to calm your dog down is to give it strong, firm pats to let it know you’re there, says veterinarian Diana Watkins, who owns 143 Veterinary Services in Massachusetts.
You can try anxiety-reducing devices like a Thundershirt, which acts like a weighted blanket to soothe your dog.
For extra-nervous dogs, there are situational anxiety medications your vet can prescribe. They can be helpful during loud sensory events like thunderstorms and fireworks or when you’re leaving your dog alone for longer than normal.
Watkins advises giving your dog only veterinary-grade products because over-the-counter anti-anxiety and CBD supplements are often not FDA-regulated and can be harmful to your pup.
Collar with ID
Make sure your pet has an ID tag on at all times, or invest in a GPS locator for its collar if your pet isn’t microchipped.
Take a walk before nighttime
It’s a good idea to time walks earlier in the day before the fireworks start. Keep your dog on lead if you think fireworks will be set off.