It’s New Year’s Eve! You’re ready to whoop it up, to paint the town red, to…get jiggy with it? (We don’t know. We are painfully uncool.)
As much as you love New Year’s Eve, your dog may not. It’s one day of the year that actually might cause her a great deal of stress! Thankfully there are a few ways you can help.
Here are three reasons why your dog hates NYE.
1. The Weird Schedule
If you stay out late once or twice a weekend already, your dog probably won’t notice the difference. But if you’re like us and are usually Lights Out, Netflix On at 9:30 p.m.? You getting home in the wee hours of the morning on New Year’s Eve is totally going to freak your dog out. She’s likely to be good and hard asleep after waiting confusedly for you to come home for hours.
What can you do? That’s an easy one. Be sure to give your dog plenty of love and attention before you go out for the night. Take her on an extra-long walk so she’ll be nice and tired and put her through her normal routine. If at all possible, wait until she’s good and drowsy before you head out! She might not even see you go. Have a dinner reservation then planning to stay out? If you’re going to be out for more than 6-8 hours you should make sure someone comes over to take your dog for a short walk and play session before it’s time for bed. Hire an on-demand dog walker or work something out with a neighbor if you can; your dog may not be able to go to sleep without her usual last bathroom break of the day.
2. The Fireworks
Ughhhhh. Fireworks. Dogs really do not like fireworks, which…understandable. Fireworks are loud and startling, and your dog isn’t smart enough to get that the pretty colors in the sky aren’t trying to kill her. Most fireworks shows are sporadic at best, and on New Year’s Eve there are usually a lot of one-off fireworks being shot off by excited revelers. These sound even closer and scarier to a dog.
What can you do? Help your dog get used to the noise of fireworks by playing some fireworks videos on YouTube for her at full volume in the days leading up to NYE (seriously.) This kind of desensitization therapy is surprisingly effective. You should also make her a cozy, comfy nest somewhere – under your desk, perhaps – that feels safe, and if you’re home, stay near her while the fireworks are going off to make sure she knows everything’s okay.
3. The People
People do NOT hold back on New Year’s Eve. Unless you live in a quiet retirement community – and even then! – odds are there are going to be people loudly carousing on the sidewalks, jovially stumbling out of Ubers, and even ringing your doorbell if you’re having guests over. Your dog is going to be worked up.
What can you do? If you’re having a party be sure to give your dog her own quiet space to relax – a closed-door bedroom is a good spot – so she can escape all the hubbub. If you simply live in a noisy part of town, putting on a white noise machine can help drown out some of the noise, but you might just have to get through it. Odds are, the closer you can keep your dog when things are abnormal, the more likely she’ll be to stay calm.