Dogs and New Year’s Eve fireworks: how to calm them

Dogs and New Year’s Eve fireworks; not a great combination. In fact, the sounds of fireworks and firecrackers have been linked to dogs going missing and even deaths of pets that don’t tolerate the unusually loud noises surrounding the festivities. Dogs, in particular, may suffer panic attacks because of their hypersensitivity: not only they do they hear sounds at twice the volume of man – picking up noises imperceptible to us, but they also perceive the smells of the pyrotechnics more intensely and from further afield. For these reasons, it is essential to protect our dogs, adopting measures to make the passing of old to new year less traumatic, such as:

– Do not leave dogs in the garden, on the balcony or close to places where firecrackers are set off.

– Do not leave dogs alone, this will help to prevent accidents caused by their fear and panic. It’s important for our pups to know we are close by without us being too attentive because excess pampering and attention could be seen as an indicator of a dangerous situation and panic them further.

– Deaden outdoor sounds by raising the volume of the TV and closing doors and windows.

– Allow dogs to take refuge where they want, giving them the option to stay in places normally prohibited.

– Do not take them out between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day or keep them securely leashed if you have to go out during this period.

If you know your dog is highly sensitive to these festive sights and sounds, you can seek advice from a veterinarian. You can opt for behavioural or pharmacological therapy, however affection and attention from their owner is generally sufficient to overcome these critical moments. This fact is also underlined by dog trainer Luca Scanavacca: “Our dog needs us and seeks our presence in difficult times. It is a gesture of responsibility and deep love to stay with them, giving up our rowdy new year, to spend a quiet evening with them. This commitment also shows the depth of our relationship. We should shun noisy parties that, on the first of January, leave nothing but traces of fear in our dog and a strong sense of guilt in us.”