Managing Noise Phobias

The holidays are festive times for us human beings. We celebrate family and life through music,
fireworks, gatherings, and decorations. However, it may be a precarious time for your pets who may not
be accustomed to the noise. The loud noises from fireworks and just the general racket that tends to
occur doing New Year’s Eve can stress out or traumatize a pet. Here’s how to enjoy a festive holiday
while making sure that your pet dog or cat aren’t frightened or become destructive to your property or
to themselves.

Follow these tips for a safe and fun New Year’s Eve for you and your pets:

Leave your pet at home.
You might think that having Fido with you might help ease his stress, but the combination of unfamiliar surroundings plus the sound of fireworks is doubly scary. Also, if your pet is outdoors,
he may well make a run for it, so keep him inside for the duration of any fireworks shows.

Tire your pet out.
The more tired a pet is, the calmer he’ll be in the evening—and thus less bothered by the loud booms of fireworks. Be sure to take your dog out for an extra-long walk on New Year’s Eve day, and factor in some extra playtime with your kitties.

Make a safe, secure space for your pet.
Before you leave for the evening’s festivities, make sure to set up your pet in a safe, comfortable, calming space, like a bedroom or a crate. Keep windows and doors closed to prevent any potential escape, and make sure your pet has a cozy bed, his favorite toys and enough food and water to last while you’re gone.

Create a distraction.
If you’re home when fireworks are going off, redirect your pet’s attention by throwing his favorite ball or another well-loved toy. Not only will you distract your pet, but you may help him associate the noise with something positive like play and attention.

“Soundproof” your space.
A little white noise can help block out the worst of the fireworks. Leave the television or music on, or just turn on a fan to help sound-sensitive pets get through the evening.

Make sure your pet has identification
This one is key—it’s not a coincidence that missing pets cases spike around New Year’s Day and July 4th. Dogs and cats can get so spooked by fireworks that they try to escape, and many sadly
succeed. A microchip or collar and tag with identifying information can help your pet be returned to you more easily should the worst happen. If your pet does run away, get the word out to Animal Services immediately.

Talk to your veterinarian
If your pet is especially anxious about fireworks, thunder, or other loud noises, schedule a consult with your vet for further ideas.  There are several options for making them less anxious.  He or she might suggest body wraps, herbal calming agents or even anti-anxiety drugs to help your pet cope. If your pet has already been prescribed anti-anxiety medication, check your supply so that you can get refills if needed well in advance of New Year’s Eve.