For many people, New Year’s Eve is the biggest party of the year.  But before you pop that champagne cork or put on your best party hat, think about your four-legged friends – and how your gala plans may affect them.  Fireworks and other noisy celebrations make many pets scared and anxious, and sadly, many shelters report an increase in lost dogs and cats this time of year.

We love our pets, so here are five tips to protect them during the end-of-year merriment – and help make sure every member of your family has a safe and happy New Year!
  1. Keep pets indoors.  If fireworks are part of your local festivities, don’t keep your pets outside – that can increase their stress and anxiety, as well as the risk they’ll run away.  Instead, keep Fido or Fluffy safely indoors in a warm and familiar environment – preferably with you – to make them feel more secure, despite the racket outside.  For an extra soothing touch, play relaxing music to keep them calm – and help drown out the sounds of bombs bursting in air. If it’s not possible to keep your pets inside your home, be sure they’re leashed, collared, tagged and even better, microchipped – and by the way, it’s excellent advice to follow every day, not just during the holidays.
  2. Keep pets party-safe. If the party’s at your home, keep your pets in a confined area or a room that’s off-limits to guests. The extra noise and commotion can make pets nervous and skittish, and when doors open as guests arrive or leave, the temptation to run outside may be too great to resist.  Keeping your pets away from partying and people will go a long way towards keeping them – and your guests –secure, comfortable and safe. 
  3. A great workout works wonders. Sleepy pets are calm and relaxed pets, so give your furry friends plenty of vigorous exercise during the day to tucker them out.  If they’ve had a really good workout, they may even sleep through the revelry. 
  4. Stay away from party foods. Many of us are guilty of overindulging during holiday fun, but party foods can pose lots of additional risks for pets. Too many unfamiliar foods can upset their stomachs, and some party staples, like alcohol, chocolate and nuts, can be dangerous – or even deadly.  So never intentionally feed your pets what you’re serving your guests, and keep an eye on your furry pals to prevent them from nibbling from any plates or platters. 
  5. Discuss medication with your vet. If fireworks or other loud noises make your pet agitated or anxious, mild sedation may be the key. Discuss this with your veterinarian to see if he or she recommends prescribing medication to keep your dog or cat calm and comfortable. 
As we begin a new year, let’s all work together to keep every member of our families safe – during the holidays and every day. These five tips are a great place to start, and for more information on pet and family safety, visit FirstService Residential
Wednesday December 30, 2015