New Year’s Eve and Your Dog

While the holidays are fun and festive for you, your pup might feel some anxiety with all the hubbub that comes with ringing in the New Year. New Year’s Eve means parties, drinking, fireworks and noise — none of which make for a fun night for your pooch. Here are some tips to help your furry friend ring in the New Year while staying safe and feeling secure.

  • Crate your pup – Dogs are den animals and feel safest when confined to a smaller space. Crate trained dogs feel safe when confined to their crates. If you’re planning on having a party or know your dog is disturbed by noise and commotion that may happen in your neighborhood, crate your dog. If your dog is not crate trained, this may not be the answer. Confining a dog who is not comfortable in a crate during a time of lots of noise may actually be detrimental to the dog. In this case, confine your dog to a room where there’s nothing he or she can damage and nothing that will cause injury.

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  • Distract your dog with positive noise – Sometimes the answer to noise is more noise, as long as it’s calming and controlled. Try playing calming classical music to ease your dog’s anxiety about the loud noises of parties and fireworks.
  • Keep alcohol out of reach – If you’re having a party, make sure all the guests know to keep their drinks up out of the dog’s reach. Alcohol is very bad for your dog’s health.
  • Get your dog sufficient exercise – Before the big night, make sure to take your dog on a long walk or to a dog park, or toss the ball around a bit. Well-exercised dogs have less anxiety.
  • Find your dog a good distraction – Toys and food puzzles may serve as a good distraction from the noise and commotion of the evening’s celebration.
  • Ask your vet for advice – If you know your dog already suffers from anxiety, ask your vet for advice.
  • Give your dog some extra snuggles – Dogs love human companionship and sometimes just your presence is enough to calm their nerves. Give your dog extra pats and scratches behind the ears or snuggle up under a blanket together to help calm your pup down during the festivities.
  • Find a pet sitter or kennel if you’re going out – If you plan to spend the evening away, don’t leave your pup alone (even if you have someone stop by for potty breaks and meal time). Your dog will be much happier, especially if he or she has anxiety, with some constant human companionship during your absence. Try to have a pet sitter stay all night or find a nice kennel or doggy daycare for your dog.
  • Travel away from the hubbub. If you’re not big on New Year’s Eve parties and the commotion causes anxiety for your dog, why not pack up and head out to a quieter area? If you live in a warmer area, you could go camp for the evening. People in colder areas could find a pet-friendly hotel in a rural area or a cabin in the woods to escape the noise.

Want more ways to keep your dog safe and healthy all year round? Check out all the articles from our blog. Be sure to contact Head of the Class Dog Training with any questions you might have.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Lisa Marino, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, PMCT, has taken her varied teaching experiences and applied them to helping owners understand and train their beloved four-legged family members. She has more than four years’ experience leading group dog training classes at Best Paw Forward in Hartland, WI, and opened Head of the Class Dog Training LLC in Winchester, VA in 2012, where she conducts group classes and private lessons, as well as helps owners to modify their dogs' problem behaviors.

Lisa earned her CPDT-KA in 2012, is a 2015 graduate of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy and is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer.

She has 4 registered therapy dogs and is a Pet Partner Therapy Team Evaluator and a member of HOPE AACR. As a former middle school teacher, she works well with families and children and does school presentations on various dog related topics.