More animals go missing on NYE than any other time of the year. The RSPCA reports a 400% increase in the numbers of dogs arriving at shelters in the 3 days following New Years Eve. Many pets panic at the noise of fireworks and run frantically in an effort to escape.
· Owners should make sure their pet has an identification tag and that microchip details are up to date.
· Keep animals indoors No matter how secure your fencing is, seriously panicked pets often find a way to escape by digging, jumping or climbing. Dogs may jump through windows.
· Create a safe place in the house where your dog can hear a radio or TV. Calming or classical music is recommended. Remove breakable and sharp items. Put bedding and blankets in there.
· Flashes of light and noise are the major problems with fireworks so pet owners should keep all windows and blinds are closed to block out noise.
· Consider leaving your pet with someone familiar who will be staying in on NYE.
· Thoroughly exercise your dog before dusk- the more tired the better. Also, a walk before the fireworks allows your pet the opportunity to go to the toilet
· Leave on television and radio in different rooms to help mask the noise.
· Give your pets something to chew on- such as a Kong toy stuffed with food or a raw bone. These may help distract from the fireworks
· Try playing lots of games before and during the fireworks- sometimes a game with a favourite toy will be enough of a distraction. Reward your pet for playing with you-with treats and more play. Make it a fun event, not a scary one- this is the best approach for puppies.
· If you are home, try to remain happy and go about your normal activities. Avoid fussing over your dog.
· Medication- if you are really concerned, your vet can prescribe medication to reduce anxiety but you vet must prescribe this. Do not use human medication.
· Try an Anxiety Wrap or Thundershirt. These are a type of jacket that have a calming effect on many dogs. They may be used for dogs who are fearful of storms, fireworks and travel or general anxiety. The jacket applies a gentle but constant pressure on the dogs torso which has a calming effect on the over stimulated nervous system.