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by Dr. Fiona Lee, DVM

As the year comes to an end, there are certainly going to be celebrations in hopes for a better new year. While your dog may have liked having you home more frequently due to quarantine and social distancing restrictions, it seems like most people are eager for the future. Here are some helpful considerations for keeping your four-legged family members safe and happy as you embark on New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Be Wary of Fireworks

It’s well known that the Fourth of July is one of the most common times for pets to be picked up by animal control2. People are often gathering in large groups and lighting off fireworks, which can be terrifying for some dogs. New Year’s Eve is another time that people love to celebrate with explosions and all that noise can translate to a dog or cat who flees in a panic.

Keep Your Pet in a Quiet Room

If you’re planning on celebrating New Year’s with an event that might be considered scary to your pet, be sure to accommodate them by providing a quiet calm space for them to be away from the noise. Make sure the space is escape proof and has adequate bedding, toys, and water. Some animals may benefit from white noise, a radio, or TV to help lessen the intensity of voices and fireworks.

Very anxious pets may benefit from a prescription medication to lessen their anxiety surrounding noisy gatherings and fireworks. Medications aimed at relieving noise phobias are routinely dispensed around the Fourth of July, but it’s also common to celebrate the New Year with fireworks as well. Talk with your veterinarian if you believe a calming medication might be helpful for your fearful fur family member.

It is possible that despite your safe quiet space and calming medications, your pet may still manage to escape and run. In this case, it is wise to have up-to-date identification on your pet. Collars with tags and a correct contact number are crucial. In addition, consider microchipping as an excellent addition to a collar.

Microchips are especially great for cats that spend time outdoors, since they are adept at removing their collars. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a study that suggested a 238% increased return-to-owner rate for lost dogs with microchips, versus without. And for cats, the statistic is even more astounding, with a 2000% increase in the likelihood of reuniting with lost cats with microchips to their owners versus those without1.

You can ensure your microchip information is correct and current by entering the number in the American Animal Hospital Associations microchip finder. Some microchip companies may charge a nominal fee to have your information updated but doing so is a crucial key to improving your chances of being reunited with your pet.

Party Animals: Keep Your Pet Away From Food & Alcohol

Coming to the end of the year prepared with a safe, calming space and identification with up-to-date information is great for those reclusive pets, but what about the ones who like to mingle? For these outgoing fur friends that want to be part of the party, make sure they don’t have the ability to get into party foods that might be dangerous for them.

Do not let your pet eat the following foods:

Grapes and raisins – which have the potential to cause kidney failure
Chocolate – which can lead to seizures and death
Macadamia Nuts – which cause muscle tremors
Larger quantities of onions and garlic can be toxic to dogs.
Fatty foods consumed in larger portions can lead to pancreatitis