As we prepare to ring in 2016, let’s remember that this time of year can be very stressful for pets.
From the festivities and disruption of routine to the loud, scary fireworks, pets can be put on edge.
It’s also a fact that Jan. 1 is one of the busiest days of the year for dogs being reported as lost and for found dogs being brought into shelters. The reason: fireworks.
It is very common for dogs to be frightened of loud noises, and the distress can cause their flight instinct to kick in.
Never assume that a dog is immune to the loud noises caused by fireworks. Dogs change over the years, and a pet that wasn’t bothered by the celebrations in the past can now be frightened. Signs of stress include trembling, shaking, pacing, panting, destructive behavior, whining, barking, vomiting, panting and escape.
As we get ready to celebrate the new year, here are some tips to keep our four-legged family members happy and safe:
GET POTTY BREAKS IN EARLY: If a dog is nervous, he will likely avoid going outside once the celebrations have started.
INSIDE IS THE SAFEST PLACE: A dog cannot jump or dig out under the fence if he is safe and secure inside. If no one will be home, leave the television or radio on to add some buffer to the noises coming from outdoors.
ACCIDENTS MAY HAPPEN: Do not be surprised if a completely housetrained dog has an accident or two during the festivities. This will likely be caused by stress,or by the fact that he just cannot hold it in any longer, yet refuses to take one step outside and into the “war zone.”
IT’S OK FOR FIDO TO BE THE PARTY POOPER: If you are hosting a celebration, secure pets in a room with the door closed or in a crate. If possible, have them spend the night at Grandma’s.
New Year’s Eve involves a lot of going in and out of doors. Guests may not notice a dog slipping outside. With so many distractions, a pet can be long gone before his family even realizes he is missing.
LEASH UP FOR EXTRA SECURITY: If the dog is brave enough to venture outdoors to do his business, put him on a leash and closely supervise. Unexpected noises may take him by surprise and his instinct may be to run for it.
IDENTIFICATION IS A MUST: Make sure pets are wearing collars and ID tags with current information at all times. A microchip is even better, as collars and tags can fall off.
TALK TO THE VET: If a pet has a severe cases of anxiety or fear, seek advice from the veterinarian, as medication may be needed.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to email@example.com, in Jefferson Parish send to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and in St. Bernard Parish send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at email@example.com, www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call our recorded information line at 504.571.1900.