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Help Pets Celebrate the New Year Safely

Thursday, December 29, 2022
By Caitlyn Getty

NYE dog

Fireworks. They’re everything people love, and everything pets hate. Heart-rattling noises, towering smoke and a grand finale that no one ever seems to see coming.

New Year's Eve is an exciting event, but may fill the air with dazzling, crackling displays. And while we’re all antsy to celebrate the incoming New Year, it’s important to remember the effects the pyrotechnics can have on our pets’ collective anxiety level.

We took the liberty of putting together a few quick tips every pet parent should follow to make sure they enjoy the parties, fireworks, and all the fun NYE brings as best they can.

Head out while the sun’s out

Activity is actually a technique used to modify pet behavior and curb anxiety: The more playful energy you draw out, the less nervous energy they’ll have to spend later on.

Go ahead and take dogs out for exercise and spend some playtime with your cats before the festivities get started. Don’t overexert them, of course — and make sure to check out these tips to keep them safe on a cold day. The goal is to tucker them out juuuust enough to help them sleep through the fireworks. 

Make home a safe zone

You may be used to leaving your pet at home alone, but this is one evening you want to make sure they’re ok with that. 

If you plan to go out, think about putting down some favorite snacks and leaving the TV on as a sound buffer and distraction. You can also close the curtains or blinds to dim the light show.

Treat it like any other day

Pets have a keen six sense. They know when you’re happy. They know when you’re sad. And they definitely know when you’re feeling nervous. So try your best during the planning phase to keep your energy level and the mood nice and breezy.

Give them a little extra love and speak in a soothing voice as you get ready to head out. If you decide to stay home to view the ball drop, make sure you pay attention to your pet to gauge their reaction if fireworks get set off — and try to keep yours pretty neutral.

Make sure their contact info is up to date

Pets are prone to go missing when they are scared. It’s ok to want to spend the evening with your friends and loved ones, but make sure you’re attentive and make them a part of the group. 

Now’s also a great time to make sure the information on your pet’s microchip and tags is up to date.

Watch what they eat

The New Year is a holiday filled with no-no's, snacks, and other opportunities to graze. Make sure you keep a close eye over what food you leave out while your pets are on the prowl. Here’s our quick list of foods you’ll want to keep away from your pets when dinnertime rolls around.


Potential hazards

Chips & Pretzels

Heavily salted snacks can cause excessive thirst and urination as well as vomiting and diarrhea. 

Grapes & Raisins

Check the fruit salad. No one knows exactly why, but grapes have been linked to kidney failure in dogs — even if they’ve had them before.

Chocolate, especially with Xylitol

Alone or together, chocolate and xylitol they can cause seizures.


Just a few ounces of beer or liquor can be poisonous to dogs and cats.

If this isn’t a "new" year

If you already know your pet has a severe stress reaction to people, fireworks or any other noise, start a conversation with your vet. There are safe, short-acting drugs that can be prescribed to reduce anxiety, as well as a number of natural solutions that might work for your pet:

  • Try a pressure wrap or Thundershirt for dogs or cats to make them feel swaddled
  • Have your pet spend the day at a friend or family-member’s home that’s further away from the festivities — but only if they’re already familiar with the space
  • CBD oil for dogs and cats appears to have some anxiety relieving properties in pets — definitely try beforehand to see how yours reacts*
  • Herbal or nutraceutical supplements with valerian, skullcap, melatonin, tryptophan, theanine, hydrolyzed milk protein are all reported by some owners to help calm pets*

All it takes to ensure a safe and happy New Year is the willingness to pay your pets a little extra mind. We hope everyone in your family enjoys the holiday, the food and the fireworks in whatever way works for them!

*As with any herbal or nutraceutical, always check with your vet first. Breed, weight, age and pre-existing conditions could play a factor in the efficacy of even the most natural of supplements.

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