Dogs on New Year's Eve: Our 10 tips for scared dogs

Sound anxiety in dogs can have many triggers - New Year's Eve rockets, firecrackers, thunderstorms or gunshots occur suddenly and usually continuously. The animal is startled and before it can recover from the shock, the next bang is heard. Animals have a much more distinct perception and often classify noises that they cannot classify directly as danger. Under certain circumstances, this can lead to regular anxiety attacks. In addition to professional training, there are many helpful tricks that can help distract and calm the animal in acute situations, such as the turn of the year.

Here are our 10 best tips for a relaxed New Year's Eve:

10 tips for anxious dogs

Tip 1 - Stay at home

Your furry nose feels most comfortable in its own home. Smells and sounds are familiar and help them feel safe. This is the best place to calm your pet. Even if you would like to watch the fireworks, it is important not to leave your pet alone at this time.

Tip 2 - Set up a retreat

Dogs and cats like to hide in safe and protected places. Boxes or protected corners, e.g. in the bathroom or under tables, offer more safety and security. If you have a cellar, you should also leave the door open - give your pet as much space as possible so that it can withdraw. Your pet should also be free to decide when, where and for how long it wants to hide.

Tip 3 - Adjust walking times

More fireworks are set off when it is dark. Therefore, plan to do your walks in the light of day. You should also exercise your dog properly and make sure that all is done.

Especially important: Secure your dog by leashing him! For particularly fearful dogs, it is advisable to put on a panic harness. Animals that panic sometimes run uncontrollably for several kilometres and may not be able to find their way back. In the worst case, serious accidents can be caused by fleeing animals.

Tip 4 - Avoid fireworks

It is not only you who should avoid fireworks. Ask your neighbours in a friendly way not to set off fireworks directly in front of your home. You should generally avoid places where there is a lot of fireworks.

Tip 5 - Reduce noise and light effects

Since our animals have a much higher level of perception than humans, they experience sounds, smells and light reflections much more intensively. You can reduce the effects by keeping curtains, blinds, windows and doors closed (provided your four-legged friend has already found a safe place to retreat to). Turning on music also helps distract from the whistling, popping and crackling noises.

Tip 6 - Provide distraction

The best thing is to sit next to your furry friend and just be there. Gentle massages or stroking as well as good coaxing can have a calming effect. Interactive play, snacks or chewy bones are also ideal distractions.

Tip 7 - Build a strong social environment

Remain calm, understanding and act as normally as possible without confirming the dog's behaviour. Too much comforting and nervous activities can increase the fear. The people around the dog should also appear as calm and relaxed as possible.

Tip 8 - Home remedies and homeopathy

Various home remedies, pheromones and homeopathic remedies such as Bach flowers or Schuessler salts can alleviate anxiety and fear. Pharmacists or behavioural therapists can help you choose the right remedy. Be aware of any intolerances your pet may have.

Tip 9 - Ask your vet for advice

If your pet has very extreme anxiety reactions over several days, you should ask your vet for advice. It may be possible to treat the acute anxiety medically. Going to the vet is especially important if your dog stops eating or drinking and does not want to leave the house. If your dog reacts in this way, you should urgently carry out professional anti-anxiety training with your pet.

Tip 10 - The days after New Year's Eve

Bang noises can also occur on the days after New Year's Eve. Especially on walks, you should continue to secure your pet with a leash. It is often obvious that frightened animals do not only panic at New Year's Eve firecrackers. Gunshots, for example from a hunter, thunderstorms or jets can also unsettle your pet.

Recognising fear in dogs

The behaviour of dogs during anxiety is versatile and depends on the situation and the character of the dog. For example, fear of an encounter with other living creatures can have different effects than fear of banging noises. While your furry friend may still growl and bark at a dog encounter, your dog may cower in a corner trembling at strange noises. Symptoms range from mild restlessness to physical effects such as diarrhoea and loss of appetite. If your dog suffers from severe anxiety for several days, you should consult a vet to alleviate the acute symptoms. Appropriate behavioural therapy and persistent training can provide long-term relief.

Conclusion: With a little consideration and creativity, you can also give your fearful pelt-nose a good start into a new year. In order to start the coming year even more relaxed, special training sessions for fearful dogs can help.

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