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Doggie Day Fair 2

A New Year’s reminder to dog-owners!

This post was filed under Dog Health, Dog Ownership, Pet Care.

Although there are a lot of public service announcements and reminders on TV about the use of fireworks this coming New Year’s Eve, a lot of Filipinos still insist on keeping up with the tradition of welcoming the new year with a bang. Even our family does—at least just this year—since this is going to be the last new year celebration we’ll have in our house. We’re moving, remember?

Fireworks are pretty, and LOUD. And they have to be, since tradition says that the loud noise will scare away evil spirits and bad luck for a prosperous New Year. But the thing is, loud noise not only scare evil spirits and bad luck, but our canine friends as well.

Scaredy dogs under blankie

Dogs are a whole lot more sensitive than us humans. A loud bang from a labintador may be tolerable noise for us, but for dogs, that’s like the beginning of World War III. For them, the noise is magnified—you can just imagine how scary it is for our pets come New Year’s Eve.

Scaredy dogs under blankie

Military dogs are trained to withstand the noise from a gun shot even if their handlers are the ones taking the shot. But our sweet pets at home don’t have that kind of training—loud noises from fireworks can really scare them. As responsible pet owners, it’s our job to help our little canine friends cope with New Year’s Eve.

If you’re familiar with a dog’s behavior in a pack, you’d know that “subordinate” dogs look up to their “alpha leader.” Aside from letting the alpha leader get first dibs on everything, the subordinates feel that it is their alpha leader who will protect them from harm. Dogs see their masters as their alpha leaders (unless you let your dog dominate you), so they do look up to you for protection. So come New Year’s Eve, you’d have to know what to do in order to help your dog cope with the loud bangs from fireworks. Here are some ideas:

  • If your dog normally stays outside in the garden, bring them inside the house (at least just for the night). They would feel more “protected” inside instead of outside where they get full blasts of the noise.
  • If your dog has a cage, cover it with cloth.
  • For small dogs, it’s best to keep them inside the bedroom or something. Our dogs (even the medium-sized ones) like to hide under the bed in packs whenever it’s New Year’s Eve
  • Take some time off lighting and watching fireworks, and accompany your dog in his/her “corner.” Your dog will most likely find a dark corner in your house to hide, and it would really make them feel better if you take some time sitting with them. When Sheero was still alive, I used to let her and Harry cuddle up under my blanket on New Year’s Eve. I sometimes stay with them under the blanket (see the photos above). I missed some of the best fireworks displays, but seeing how scared my dogs were (Sheero was shaking and Harry’s heart was beating so fast I was afraid he’d have a heart attack), it was worth it 🙂
  • There are some dogs, like Choknat, who respond to fireworks with curiosity instead of fear. The loud bangs made him jump, but his curiosity outweighs his fear—I had to drag him away from the window or keep him from getting sparks on his fur. He wanted to be part of the celebration, so my sister and I had to keep him on a leash under control while watching the fireworks and lighting up sparklers in the garden. Curious dogs like Choknat have to be kept under control as well on New Year’s Eve. They could easily be burned by fireworks (and God forbid, get hit by a stray bullet) if you let their curiosity run away with them.

These are just some reminders that could help your dog on New Year’s Eve, just some of the things that my family practices. If you know others, do share so our readers will be in the know come New Year’s Eve. 🙂

Happy New Year, everyone! Take care of your dogs, and KEEP SAFE!

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