Granted, we’ve not even passed Christmas yet, but at PDSA we believe it’s never too early to start preparing your four-legged friend for New Year. While we’re all looking forward to leaving 2020 behind us, remember that some of our celebrations may be less fun for our pets.
We’ve put together our advice for having a stress-free NYE with your pet.
One of the main pet-related issues at New Year is fireworks. While some pets might be alright with loud bangs and flashes, it can be a real nightmare if your pet is afraid of any unexpected noises like fireworks.
Even though we still have a couple of weeks, it’s probably a bit late to try and desensitise your pet now. We’d fully recommend starting them on a de-sensitising programme anyway, but have a few contingencies in place if you know your pet is afraid of fireworks.
This can include:
- Building your dog or cat a den so they can hide somewhere safe if they want to.
- Bringing outdoor animals inside (for example, putting hutches into car-less garages).
- If you can’t house your outdoor pet indoors, pop some thick blankets over the top of their hutch and give them extra bedding to keep them warm and safe.
- Try to avoid letting your pet out on their own after dark.
- Make sure you have enough litter trays indoors for your cat so they don’t have to go outside where the fireworks will be loudest.
- Turn the TV on and close the curtains to drown out noise and bright flashes.
- Take your dog for a walk early in the evening before fireworks start.
- Try plug-in pheromone diffusers or spray to help keep your pet calm.
- A few days before, start encouraging your cat to come home before nightfall. Consider giving them their dinner before dusk so you can encourage them to stay in on the night.
People and visitors
While a lot of us may not be able to have visitors from other households in our homes (or at all), if you’re thinking of having a covid-safe get-together outside do keep your pet in mind! It can get a lot colder in the evening, so if you plan on having your pet stay with you outside make sure they have a warm, sheltered area to cuddle up if they need it.
If your pet hasn’t seen a lot of people lately, they may find visitors overwhelming. It’s important not to force your pet to socialise if they don’t want to. You should make sure they have somewhere they can go to be alone if they need to. We have more advice on keeping pets happy when you have visitors on our website.
Whether you have a sit-down meal or just choose to have picky bits on NYE, it’s still really important to keep human food away from curious paws!
It can be tempting to throw your pet some table scraps to make them feel included in the celebrations, but so much of our food can be harmful to them that it’s not worth the risk. Do you really want to spend your New Year’s Day at the emergency vet?
Feed your pet their normal food and maybe get them a new toy to keep them happy and entertained. As the evening progresses, make sure to keep human drink well away from them and clean up any spillages immediately so your pet doesn’t try to ‘help’ clean it up!
Our pets love routine, so any changes to their daily activity can be really upsetting. Try to keep them in their usual routine as much as possible (so feeding and exercise at their usual times).
We’re not saying you need to cancel your whole evening and be in bed by 10pm, but be mindful of your pet. Make sure that wherever they normally like to sleep is away from where you’re celebrating so they can settle down when they feel tired.
You might be tempted to have a bit of a lie-in New Year’s Day, but our pets don’t understand this. If they have a set time for going to the toilet or having their food in the morning try to stick to this time as much as possible – you can always head back to bed after they’ve made themselves comfortable or had their breakfast!
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