Here Come the New Year's Bangs - How to Best Protect Your Dog from Anxiety

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.26 - 2023 7:48 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
How to Best Protect Your Dog from Anxiety.

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New Year's Eve is often more festive for people than for dogs. As a dog owner, it's important to prepare your dog and be considerate, so you don't end up with a frightened dog when the fireworks go off.

New Year's Eve is associated with celebration and colors for many people. For dogs, however, it can be a very stressful and frightening experience.

When all daily routines are broken, in combination with loud noises and flashes of light, the dog can experience both stress and anxiety.

"It varies from dog to dog how they experience the bangs and flashes of light on New Year's Eve. Some dogs become so stressed and anxious that they need to be medicated, while others may just lie in the owner's lap or hide under the table. Regardless of how the dog reacts, one should always ensure that the dog is considered when the rockets are howling and banging," says Jens Jokumsen, family pet chief at Animal Protection, in a press release.

Anxiety Spreads Like Ripples in Water

"If the dog experiences a high level of stress and anxiety on New Year's Eve, it can spread like ripples in water to other situations such as thunderstorms and cloudbursts. Therefore, as dog owners, we must take the precautions that ensure the dog gets through New Year's Eve well," explains Jens Jokumsen.

It's important to be considerate, as a bad experience can linger. If the dog has a bad experience on New Year's Eve, it can become afraid of other loud noises or become even more stressed the next New Year.

Animal Protection therefore guides on how to make New Year's Eve as safe as possible.

How to Give Your Dog Security on New Year's Eve

There are many things a dog owner can do to help their dog feel as secure as possible, despite the New Year's spectacles.

Here comes a guide on how a dog owner can take the best possible precautions:

  • Start by considering how stressed the dog was last year, or how stressed it generally gets with loud noises and unusual situations. Plan your New Year based on these experiences.

  • If the dog becomes very stressed, it may be a good idea to celebrate New Year far away from the city, where there is typically less noise and flashes of light from fireworks.

  • If the dog is less stressed, it may be enough just to let them be close to the owner, turn on the radio, or give them a chew bone when the fireworks are at their worst.

  • Walking the dog should be done on a leash up to New Year's Eve. The dog can react unusually to sudden bangs and flashes and may run away. Also, remember to take an extra long walk with the dog in the middle of the day on New Year's Eve.

  • Shield the dog from flashes of light and loud noises, and let it hide if it provides security.

  • Do not scold the dog. It will only worsen its stress and insecurity in the situation.

  • Make sure the dog cannot run away. It can react unexpectedly in a stressful situation.

  • If you are unsure about which preparations are best for your dog, you should consult a veterinarian or a dog behaviorist, so New Year's Eve becomes festive for the owners and as little stressful as possible for the dog.

Animal Protection does not recommend leaving the dog alone on New Year's Eve. It can be difficult to know if it reacts violently in a situation, and a negative experience can amplify the anxiety if the dog is home alone.

Also, remember to take good care of the paws in the days after New Year. Crushed bottles and other fireworks debris can be dangerous for the dog.

How Does Anxiety Look in Dogs?

Symptoms can be one of these or several at the same time.

  • Shaking

  • Drooling

  • The dog hides, crawls under tables, beds, and chairs, etc.

  • Tries to get away

  • Howling

  • Restlessness

  • Uncleanliness

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