Dog care tips for some peace of mind ahead of New Years Eve this year
New Year’s Eve. For us humans, it’s a source of joy. For our four-legged friends, not so much. As many people in the UK will start the celebrations with fireworks at home this year due to Lockdown restrictions, the risk of your pet bolting off, are higher than ever. To avoid that from happening to your best bud, Tractive put together a New Year’s Eve dog care guide along with popular UK-based dog trainer Oli Juste.
Spot the signs: Get to know what stress in your dog looks like. That way, you’ll know when they’re starting to get anxious and make sure it doesn’t get worse. Common behaviours include pacing around, running to hide under the bed, trying to climb on you, and peeing or pooing when fireworks go off. But sometimes, the signs are less obvious. For example, panting, yawning, licking their nose and lips, or ‘whale eye’ – that’s when the whites of their eyes look like a crescent moon.
Play the worries away: Be calm and reassure your dog during the fireworks. Try to occupy them with something they like. Research suggests that dogs who regularly play with people are less likely to be anxious, so play games with them. Games such as food dispensing toys are great, but make sure you’re in on the action too. And whatever you do, don’t ignore your dog.
Cozy corners and relaxing reggae: Create a ‘safe place’ at home. It could be a crate (if your dog already thinks of it as a safe place), under your bed, a corridor away from windows, wherever your dog is happy, let them decide. Keep TV, radio or music on. According to a study from the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow, reggae and soft rock are the best genres for reducing stress, barking and heart rates. You can even find Reggae for Dogs playlists on your favourite music streaming platform – or create your own and name it something adorable like Pup Marley.
Extra care for senior dogs: Fear can also worsen with age. So, if your dog’s fear of noise or fireworks started in your dog’s later years you should definitely talk to your vet. Medical support could really help, or at least be part of the solution.
Stay inside! Avoid letting your dog outdoors at times when fireworks are likely to go off. Have your walks and visits to the park earlier in the day. Secure your yard and home as some dogs may try to escape. Make sure your dog is microchipped and has a collar and tag on, or even better, has a GPS Tracker so you can follow their every step, even if they run off
Ask a pro: If your dog is very stressed and you need more help, please speak with a professional positive trainer or a behavioural expert for help. Be your dog’s safe place, remember you must be there for your dog to make them feel safe. Try not to leave them alone in the evenings.