Sunday is the eve of a new year. While this is a fun and exciting time of celebration for humans, it can be stressful for pets. In fact , Jan. 1 is one of the busiest days for dogs being reported lost and found dogs being brought in to shelters.
The reason: fireworks. The loud and unexpected booms and bangs and the lights in the sky can cause some dogs to panic and go into flight mode.
Protect pets from the festivities as much as possible to minimize stress and panic. Signs of stress include trembling, shaking, pacing, destructive behavior, whining, barking, vomiting, panting and trying to escape.
As we get ready to celebrate the beginning of 2018, here are some tips to keep our furry family members happy, safe and, most of all, still home on the morning of Jan. 1:
Go outside early: If a dog is nervous, he will likely avoid going outside once the celebrations have started, so make sure potty breaks are taken care of before the sun goes down.
Inside is the safest: A dog cannot jump or dig out under a fence if he is safe and secure inside the home. If no one will be home, leave the television or radio on to add some buffer to the noises outside. The last thing we want is for an already frightened dog to be in distress and roaming the streets during the fireworks.
Accidents may happen: Do not be surprised if a completely house trained dog has an accident during fireworks. 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 chaos.
Let the dog sit the party out: If hosting a celebration, secure pets in a room behind a closed door or in a crate. If possible, have them spend the night at another friend or family member’s home.
New Year’s Eve involves a lot of going in and out of doors. Guests may not be as mindful of the pets as owners are and therefore may not notice a dog slipping out. An open door, even if open for only a second, can lead to a missing dog. With so many distractions, a pet can be long gone before his family even realizes he's gotten away.
Leash up for extra security: If the dog must go potty and is brave enough to venture outdoors, put him on a leash and closely supervise him, as unexpected noises may take him by surprise and his instinct may be to run for it.
Have current identification: Make sure pets are wearing collars and ID tags with current information. If a dog does get out, current identification creates the best chance of a happy reunion. A microchip is even better, as collars and tags can fall off. Now is a great time to update microchip information and make sure those tags are in good condition and easy to read.
FRIDAY: Daytime Matinee Critter Cinema, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA, will be held at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. What better way to end the week than getting cozy with kitties and puppies, enjoying G-rated critter movies and making friends with other young animal lovers. $35 per child. Preregistration is required. Call (504) 368-5191, ext. 207, or email email@example.com. For more info, visit www.la-spca.org/crittercinema.
SATURDAY: From noon to 3 p.m., Animal Rescue New Orleans will host an adoption event at Whole Foods Market, 3420 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie. ARNO representatives will be outside the store with adoptable dogs, giveaways and information about volunteering and adopting. We will accept donations of cash and dog and cat supplies. For more info: Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TUESDAY: From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Animal Rescue New Orleans holds an adoption event at Blaze Pizza, 611 O'Keefe Ave., New Orleans. ARNO will be outside with adoptable dogs and information on volunteering and adopting. Come hungry: Twenty percent of sales from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. will be donated to ARNO when you mention the fundraiser to the cashier. For more info: Email email@example.com.
LOST OR FOUND PETS In Orleans Parish, send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org. In Jefferson Parish, send to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. In St. Bernard Parish, send to email@example.com.