Fun and Safe Activities to Enjoy New Year's with Your Dog
Fireworks and dogs don’t mix well. While the New Year excitement fills the air, celebrating with your furry friends brings a hint of concern.
New Year's Eve can present challenges for your four-legged companions. Loud noises from fireworks, bustling gatherings, and unusual activities might unsettle them, leading to stress or anxiety.
However, it's time to ditch the one-size-fits-all approach. You can embrace creative ways to ring in the New Year that cater to you and your pets. Is that even possible? Let’s find out.
Safe Activities You Can Do with Your Dog this New Year1. Indoor Activities for Your Dog
To soothe dogs troubled by fireworks and loud noises, organize indoor activities in a soundproof room or area to muffle outside noises. This can help them stay relaxed and engaged without being overwhelmed by external sounds.
- Brain Teasers for Busy Paws
Unleash the Sherlock Holmes inside your pup with puzzle toys! Packed with hidden treats, puzzle toys become delightful treasure hunts, challenging their minds and rewarding them with delicious discoveries.
- Sniff and Seek Adventures
Put those super noses to work! Scatter treats around the room or craft a scent trail, allowing your pet to follow their instincts and uncover surprises.
- Bubble Party
Hosting a "bubble party" using pet-friendly bubbles can be a delightful and safe activity for your canine friends. Dogs often enjoy chasing and popping bubbles, which can provide entertainment while being indoors.
- Soothing Music
As an alternative to outdoor fireworks, consider calming videos or soothing music. There are videos specifically designed for canines, which can help create a dog-friendly New Year’s Eve atmosphere.
Dr. Susan Wagner, a board-certified veterinarian, discovered that solo piano music with slower tempos and simple arrangements effectively reduced dogs' anxiety. Surprisingly, it was found to be more effective than previously discovered classical tunes tested in dog shelters.
2. Outdoor Activities for Your Dog
If your dog isn't fazed by the distant echoes of celebration, you can venture out for a pre-fireworks adventure:
- Twilight Stroll
Before the sky lights up, go for a walk with your dog at dusk. Enjoy the fresh air and the thrill of the approaching year while your dog explores and sniffs around. It's a great setup for both!
- Quiet Spaces
Look for a calm park tucked within the city. Let your dog explore and enjoy the peacefulness. Let them search for treasures, run around, or bask in the sunlight.
- Playtime Fun
If your dog loves to play, find a safe spot away from the main festivities. Play fetch or toss a frisbee in the open space. Let your dog's excitement be a celebration of your own.
While your dog may not be bothered by loud noises, it's safer to stay away from the sudden blasts of fireworks. It pays to err on the side of caution, even in situations that may not require it.
Fun Activities You Can Share with Your Dog for New Year
Celebrate New Year's Eve with your furry friend in style! Here are some enjoyable activities you can share with your dog on this special night:
- Festive Costumes
Dress your pet in a comfortable and adorable outfit. Choose something cozy and cute, like a themed bandana or a snug sweater, ensuring it feels comfortable for them to wear. This festive attire not only makes them look adorable but also helps them join in on the fun.
- New Year Treats
Make special treats for your dog this New Year. Get creative in the kitchen and whip up some dog-friendly snacks or a festive cake. Frozen fruits or yogurt drops make cool and tasty treats, perfect for dogs enjoying the indoors during the celebrations.
- Photo Fun
Snap some precious moments by taking adorable photos of your dog in their New Year's Eve outfit or while they're enjoying the celebrations. Create a fun photo booth with playful props where both of you can strike adorable poses together.
Why Fireworks Frighten Some Pups More Than Others
Early experiences significantly impact a dog's sensitivity to fireworks. Puppies undergo critical developmental stages where their brains form associations that can influence lifelong behavior. This critical period typically occurs before 12 weeks of age.
Imagine a puppy experiencing a thunderstorm for the first time during their developmental stage. If the thunder is loud and frightening, the puppy might form a negative association between thunder and fear. This association could lead to the puppy becoming anxious whenever it hears thunderstorms or similar sounds in the future.
How to Prevent Your Dog’s Fear of Fireworks?
According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, it's crucial to address firework fear in dogs early on. Stefanie Riemer’s research underscores the effectiveness of counterconditioning, which involves activities like play and treats during firework displays. On average, dogs exposed to this approach were 70 percent less fearful during fireworks than those without such training.
However, some dogs are more resilient or less affected by loud noises like fireworks. Breeds known for their calm demeanor and adaptability might cope better during firework displays while still enjoying activities.
Breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and some mixed breeds can often remain relatively calm amid fireworks. However, individual temperament and past experiences play a significant role. Hence, even within these breeds, some dogs might still feel anxious.
Safety Tips for Your Dog During Fireworks
- Microchip and ID Tags: Ensure your dog has a microchip and wears a secure collar with visible ID tags, including your contact information. This helps in case of any accidental escape or wandering.
- GPS Tracking Collars: Unlike microchips and ID tags, GPS collars provide real-time location monitoring, giving you continuous access to your dog's whereabouts. If your dog happens to flee during the festivities, the GPS collar offers precise location data, facilitating quick retrieval and ensuring your pet's safe return.
- Leash Safety: When outdoors, always keep your dog on a leash to prevent them from bolting or getting lost due to sudden noises.
- Safe Indoor Space: Create a comfortable retreat inside your home where your dog can seek solace from the noise. A cozy den or a familiar room can help them feel secure and calm on New Year’s Eve.
- Anxiety Monitoring: Keep an eye on your dog's anxiety levels during firework displays. If they seem stressed, offer comfort. Also, consider providing calming treats or engaging in soothing activities to help alleviate their anxiety.
Remember, it's important to prioritize your dog's comfort and safety above all else. Never push them to engage in activities that distress them.
Here's to welcoming the New Year with joy and ensuring safety for your beloved furry companions! See you in 2024!
You might also enjoy...