How To Keep Your Pets Safe During NYE Fireworks
While watching the fireworks can be an exciting way to ring in the new year, it can also be a bit much for our furry friends.
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day is often the busiest time of year for vet clinics, as pets -- mainly dogs -- are spooked by the loud bangs.
The Lost Dogs' Home in Melbourne has three times as many dogs brought in who are lost or who have escaped.
"Many dogs in particular have a fear of fireworks and thunder that can lead to reactions ranging from milder panting and whining to uncontrollable shaking," the practise's general manager of veterinary medicine Dr Julie Bellamy told 10 daily.
"They're known to try and escape loud noises by jumping over or under fences that would normally contain them."
Here's how to keep them calm and safe, while enjoying your night.
Aim For Direct Supervision
First and foremost, Bellamy encouraged pet owners to make sure their dogs are supervised. If it's not you, make sure you have other arrangements in place.
She said leaving a dog with a significant fear of fireworks home alone isn't the best option.
"If you are going out, one thing that you mustn't do is tie them up. If they do panic, this could cause significant damage to themselves," she said.
Preparation Is Key
In the lead up to the big event, start by taking your dog on a long and quiet walk.
"Feed them using food puzzles, treat balls or scatter their food around so they will take a longer time to eat," Bellamy said.
"If you're having people over, make sure they're aware of keeping doors and gates closed."
Bellamy reminded owners to make sure their animal is microchipped and wearing an ID tag with up-to-date contact details in case they do escape.
Close The Blinds, Turn On The Tunes
During the big event, Bellamy suggested some ways to mask the noise outside.
Close the blinds and put on some calming music or the TV while you distract them with games and food.
"Let the dog decide where they want to be," she said.
"If they have a favourite hiding spot, add in some pillows and blankets to reduce the noise -- but make sure they don't start chewing."
As we all know, dogs are truly wonderful creatures who pick up on how us humans are feeling. If you're calm, hopefully that will rub off.
"It's also important to reward any calm behaviour by giving them their favourite toy or treat," Bellamy added.
The Kennel Club, the UK's largest organisation for animal welfare, has similar advice and recommends owners behave normally "to show them there's nothing to worry about".
It also suggested making sure your home and garden is secure and topping up your dog's water bowl.
If your dog has a noticeable noise phobia, Bellamy, from Lost Dogs' Home, recommended a chat with your vet to discuss treatment options and behavioural assistance.
"Many owners have successfully desensitised their dogs to the sound of fireworks and thunderstorms but this can take some time, so it is essential that you seek advice well before the potentially fearful event."
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