Loud sounds such as fireworks or music can be stressful for pets, and experts advise animal or bird lovers in the UAE to take steps to keep their pets calm during New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“As impressive as these celebrations are, fireworks can cause stress and anxiety in pets,” said Dr Sara Elliott, founder and director of the British Veterinary Hospital and Marina Vet Clinic in Dubai.
Loud noises can startle animals and it is best to keep them away.
Farah Sarfraz lives in an urban area and has a dog named Litchi. “The first year we moved here, we kept the TV on and closed all the doors and windows to block out the noise,” she said.
“Thankfully, with the windows closed the fireworks aren’t noisy at all, and we’ve found that Lychee actually enjoys watching them.”
The Indian expat and her husband are always at home with their pets during New Years and they are always on hand to provide comfort. “Sometimes the sound of emergency vehicles passing by would startle her a little bit,” she said.
“In this case, we hug her and give her food. She feels so much calmer while eating. Also, we make sure we never take her out at night because it’s very busy and noisy outside our building.”
Another pet owner, Kimberley Bostock, said she also took some precautions to make sure her cats Bowie and Ziggy weren’t agitated during the New Year’s celebrations. “I live near a golf club that has fireworks, and you can hear and see a lot of other fireworks shows from my apartment,” she said.
“To calm my cats down, I turn on the TV, turn up the background noise, and make sure I play with them all day so they’re more tired than usual. I also give them cats about half an hour before the fireworks start. Peppermint, calm them down.”
Here are five tips from Dr. Elliott to keep your pets calm during the holiday season
walk the dog earlier in the day
If your dog is used to walking in the morning and evening, walk your pet twice throughout the day on New Year’s Eve. Festivities may start as early as sunset and crowds may start to gather. Always keep your dog on a leash in case they are startled and run away from busy areas and the sights and sounds that accompany them. Exercising your dog more than usual will help tire them out, which will make them more relaxed when the festivities begin later in the evening.
keep your dogs and cats indoors
Keep your pets indoors starting early in the evening to make sure they don’t go out when the fireworks start. It also helps to keep them away from loud crowds, so they don’t get startled. Spend extra time with them during the day in your garden or on a pet-safe balcony to ensure they have some playtime outside.
create a safe haven
Pets tend to hide when they are frightened or anxious. Make sure you have an area in your home where your pet can retreat if there is too much noise. Leave all interior doors open so they can roam as they please, and place their favorite toys and bedding throughout the room to create a safe space. If you have any leftover Christmas boxes, put some of these around your house because we all know cats love to hide and play in boxes.
Familiar noises like the TV or radio can help distract your pet from the noise caused by fireworks. Not only will they mask the sounds of outdoor festivities, but the common sounds your pets are used to will help them feel more comfortable and safe.
Countdown to 2023 with your pet, if possible
Pets often cope better with disturbing situations that are closest to and dearest to them. If possible, stay home with your pet, or ask a trusted friend, colleague, or qualified pet sitter to accompany them for New Years. If this is not possible, there is no need to feel guilty. When you get home, throw your pets their own New Year’s Eve party and give them extra love, attention, and treats.
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