By Patty Dobson
Ringing in the New Year offers much fun and festivities, but for our furry best friends, who have a better hearing range and can hear higher pitched sounds, noise anxiety is a real thing. The often boisterous and sometimes booming sounds of New Year festivities can cause concern, with our pups feeling jittery, uneasy, and anxious. Here are some tried and true tips we personally found helpful to keep our pups calm and cared for, as we ease into the New Year.
Prepare the Environment in Advance
Setting some time aside to prepare an area for your furry best friend in anticipation of and ahead of the festivities will keep your pup calm, like it’s any other day. Our pups are sensitive and attuned to us, so any rushing or hurrying can translate to tension and uncertainty, which can create nervousness in our pups.
Create a Safe Space and Comforting Environment
Pops and booms from holiday poppers and fireworks often cause our pups to pant, pace, and prefer to hide, frantically finding a small space to hide and nestle into. Creating a place for your pup to hide or safely snuggle can prove priceless, as it gives him a small, confined space where he can feel secure and sheltered, away from the noise. We found that clearing a part of a closet for our pups extremely helpful, padding the area with his familiar favorites, like his blanket, toy, and an extra blanket for him to hide under. Place an item of your clothing in the space, so your scent reassures him you’re near, and keep him hydrated by having a bowl of water nearby. To stifle the sounds, try using a speaker or portable radio placed somewhere inside or outside the door that plays quiet, calming music to muffle the booms. Keep the door open a crack with a little bit of light streaming through and so that he has the freedom to go in and out as he feels necessary.
Use a Scarf as Ear Muffs
Sometimes wrapping your pup’s ears with a scarf can help lessen the stress of New Year sounds by muffling the noise. On quiet NYE nights in, we’ve found the scarf earmuff trick coupled with allowing our pup to hide under our covers reassuring for our furry friend.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Don’t make a fuss. Intermittently attend to your pup, acknowledging him and ensuring he’s okay and hydrated, but avoid coddling, making a fuss, and act normally, as our pups read our physical cues and can sense something is the matter, encouraging anxiety.
If all else fails for your sound sensitive pup, speak to your vet about options they offer to help your pup cope with the clamor. Some hoomans have found noise aversion drugs, which are light sedatives lasting a few hours, helpful.
With proper preparation, NYE celebrations can be delightful, full of merriment and stress free!