Celebrating the New Year with fireworks may seem festive, but it can be highly stressful for pets. More than any other day of the year, New Year's always sets the record for the most lost cats and dogs, as panicked pets jump through windows, break tethers, and leap fences.
It is possible to teach fearful pets that noises won't hurt them, but such training can take weeks or months. So with New Year's right around the corner, here are some tips to help keep your pets safe:
Scared animals calm themselves by squeezing into tight spots and hiding their eyes. Offer your pets a safe hiding place and let them be.
Avoid sympathetic baby-talk that rewards their fear. When it "booms," acknowledge the noise matter-of-factly, "That was loud. But it doesn't bother me, see? It shouldn't bother you."
Cover the sound. A white noise machine or a radio tuned to static works well. Or try harp music--studies show it has a unique calming effect for pets.
Make your pet's safety the top priority. Bring outdoor pets inside the garage or the house. Provide a crate or confinement in a pet-proofed room. And don't forget other pets like rabbits or birds-they can suffer from the smoke as well as fear.
Make sure your pets are microchipped or have other permanent up-to-date identification if they do the "desperado dash" when the rocket's red glare fills the sky!
All of us at the Maui Humane Society wish you and your pets a Happy and Peaceful New Year.