New Year’s Eve is an exciting time for all as the year is ending and a new one with many promises begins. Parties galore are prominent this night which means lots of noise, guests and potential fireworks as well as stress for your pets. We may not think about how large parties in your home or others’ can lead to bad behaviors, anxiety and physical stress to your pet, but these are very common to even the seasoned pet. There are many ways you can prepare for these potential issues. We will discuss preventive measures and suggestions to help you and your pet get through New Year’s Eve.
Socialization and Pet Room
Socializing you pet is something that pet owners understand the importance of as it helps prevent aggression to strangers, teach well-mannered behaviors and helps with anxiety when family or friends come to visit. You may be thinking that I already socialize my pet so why is it so important to do before a New Year’s Eve party? Even the most socialized pets can develop emotional and/or physical problems at loud extravagant house parties. Getting your dog out into loud settings days before the event can help ease them into the noise and large groups. Let them be pet by strangers and praise them always. If their manners fail, then correct them immediately not letting anything slide just because of the unfamiliar environment. If your dog does show major anxiety where it is not ideal, then take them out of the environment and try again the next day. Over time most animals will adapt. Although this isn’t the easiest to do with cats you can ask neighbors or friends to stop by for short periods of time to help accustom them to new people.
Some animals are not emotionally or physically able to handle new environments and that is ok as well. If this is your case don’t worry as each animal is different with their own personalities. For these animals a pet friendly room is a great solution. Pet friendly rooms should be your pets “bedroom” where they have all their everyday necessities and comfort needs. If your pet stays in a certain room when you are out this would ideally be where they would stay, however, if this room is right next to the party it would be advised to move them to a room further away from all the noise. Their everyday food and water dishes, toys, beds, scratch posts, etc. should be placed in with them as they are all comfort pieces for them. Placing a sign on the door saying “Do not open, pet inside” will help prevent guests from causing a stressful and potentially dangerous situation. Check on your pet regularly throughout the party as well to ensure they are not over stressed. One best way to tell this is if their tongues are white. If they are white try to calm your pet, take them on a walk or help distract them from the party. Always make sure you have one sober driver in case of an emergency.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Keeping the everyday routine for your pet may be a challenge when preparing for a party but it can easily help prevent bad manners and anxiety in your pet. Animals are experts at sensing when something is off with us. If we are sick or sad they provide us with comfort, and when we are anxious they can become anxious too, not knowing how to help us. I guess you could say many of them become mini us. Stick to their regular feeding times, walks, even cuddle sessions. Do not ignore them if they come up to you or need something. We are not saying that if they want some reassurance that they are being good to drop everything but take a moment to step away from what you are doing to pet them and praise them, reassuring them that they have done nothing wrong.
To help remind yourself to take the time to do all this set reminders and alarms on your phone. Make extra ones for just checking in on your pet to make sure they are well and not showing any signs of anxiety or practicing bad behaviors. Bad behaviors are common to come out during these times and the last thing that any of us need is cleaning up messes, having to discipline your pet for breaking manners or adding more stress to yourself which will rub off on your pet.
Importance of playtime
If you have kids, you know the best way to calm them down and help them sleep is to tire them out. The same is true for animals. The day of your event set aside some time to take your dog to the dog park, out for a walk or extended time outside playing. Running off excess energy during an appropriate time and not when guests are around can lead your dog to becoming less restless, irritable, hyperactive and anxious. If your dog stays out during the party they will be less likely to jump, want to play, bark to get attention as well as not scaring guests who are not very comfortable near dogs of all sizes. For those who go in their pet room they will also be more likely to sleep through the event and not have endorphins rising causing stress.
Cats can be more of a struggle to wear out but if you have a playful cat get some toys out for them about an hour before the event starts to help wear out any energy they may have. For those who may not be playful, catnip is a wonderful way to help a cat relax. Cats often can sleep through loud noises and hours on end therefore it is important to wake them before the party allowing them time to get energy out before getting their beauty sleep again for the night.
Enlist in a helping hand
Our pets’ social, physical and emotional needs all must be addressed during stressful times. If your schedule prevents you from putting away time for your pet right before New Year’s Eve and/or on this night, then enlisting a helping hand can help relieve pressure for both you and your pet. Our pet sitters at Love and a Leash are more than happy to provide help and support before and during events. We gladly will help keep schedules intact, offer playtime in and out of the house and don’t forget about our pet taxi that can be brought to doggy daycare. We can even come in during your events to spend quality time with your dog or cat.
There are many ways to help relieve stress, manage manners, and provide a happy safe time for your pet during your events. I wish we could provide the same options for you and your bouncing around to get prepared, but I suppose that comes with the joyful outcome of the actual event and seeing friends and family. Wishing everybody a happy and safe New Year!