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Your New Years Pet Safety Guide


What do champagne and New Year's resolutions have in common? They're both part of celebrating the new year. While New Year's Eve can be one fun holiday, it can also pose some risks to our furry friends. So here are some tips to safely ring in the new year.

Fireworks

Many cities use fireworks to celebrate the new year, but that can frighten our pets. Signs that your pet is afraid include running and hiding, shaking or trembling, barking incessantly, pacing, panting or having accidents in the house.

Pro Tip: Although fireworks are unavoidable, you can ease your dog's stress by providing him or her with a safe space as far away from the sound as possible. You can set up their dog bed and bring in favorite toys to make them more comfortable. And make sure to keep them secured so they can't run off in reaction to the loud noises. In addition, don't take your dog out during fireworks as that could exacerbate his or her anxiety.

Noisemakers

On a related note, noisemakers and noisy poppers can also scare pets and even cause damage to those with sensitive ears. If you'll be using noisemakers, it may be a good idea to secure your pets in a safe place (like one suggested in the fireworks section), especially if he or she is fearful of or stressed out by loud noises.

Confetti

Lots of people enjoy throwing confetti on New Years to celebrate the turn of the year. But confetti can be dangerous to pets, as it can pose as a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage if ingested. The latter could even require surgery and costly vet bills.

Alcohol

New Year’s and alcohol go hand-in-hand. While champagne and other drinks are great for ringing in the new year, they're not good for our pets. If ingested, alcohol can cause depression, clumsiness and unsteady walking, vomiting, decreased blood pressure and body temperature, damage to the liver or nervous system, and even death in small breeds. Furthermore, champagne and wine come from grapes, which are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.

Pro Tip: As marijuana becomes legal in more places, some people choose to use it to celebrate the New Year. Just make sure to keep that out of your pet's reach as well. Marijuana can cause sleepiness, sensitivity to touch, decreased heart rate and body temperature, or even seizures and death in rare cases.

Contact your vet immediately if your pet ingests anything he or she shouldn't have.

Food

If you're throwing a New Year's Eve party with delicious foods, make sure to keep them away from your pets. Most party foods are full of fats, oils, seasonings and other ingredients that can cause gastrointestinal upset and other issues in our pets. Also, make sure to remind your guests not to feed your pets to avoid accidental poisoning.

Pet Outfits

If you want to dress up your dog to celebrate the new year, first make sure your dog is okay with it. If he or she doesn't like being dressed up, it's best not to force it. Otherwise you may cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Signs that your dog isn't happy in an outfit include lowered head, flat or pinned-back ears, lip licking, yawning, panting, wide eyes, flat whiskers, slumping or shaking.

Pro Tip: If you still want your dog to be festive but he or she doesn't like costumes, opt for a themed bandana.

On the flip side, if your dog is okay or enjoys being dressed up, then go for it - as long as you're being safe. Make sure the costume fits properly and does not restrict movement, limit sight and hearing, or inhibit the ability to breathe or bark. Also check the costume for small pieces that can be chewed off and become choking hazards. It's best to stay close to your dressed-up pup, in case something goes wrong (such as overheating) so you can address it immediately. 

Pro Tip: Have your pets try on the outfit before they'll be wearing it, so they can become familiar with it. If you can, do so several times for short periods to ease them in. Use lots of treats and positive reinforcement to make the experience a good one.

Bonus Tips:

1. Update ID Tags

Make sure your dog's identification tags and microchips are updated, in case your dog does escape. This is important to do this regularly, but New Year's is an especially good time because pets scared by loud noises may try to escape or run away. The most important information to update is your address and phone numbers. If your dog isn't microchipped, consider doing so, as it offers a permanent identification method if your dog's collar or tags fall off.

Pro Tip: To be as safe as possible, secure your pets in a room away from the door so they can't escape.

2. Let Your Dog Exert Energy

Try taking your dog on a long walk or playing together before all the commotion and chaos of the evening. Dogs are usually calm after exerting energy, so doing this can help your dog feel less overwhelmed and more relaxed throughout the evening.

3. Keep Your Dog Busy

Dogs are curious animals. Many are social beings and some are even mischievous. Because of this, it's often a good idea to keep your dog busy and entertained. You can give him something to chew on, a puzzle toy or even a new one.

4. Food And Water

Make sure your dog always has access to a water bowl and any necessary food. This is especially important to remember if you're securing your pet in another room for his or her safety.

5. Keep Your Routine

Try to keep your pets' daily routine intact so that he or she doesn't feel out of sorts. Sticking to the normal routine will help your dog feel less stressed and be more calm throughout the evening.

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