New Year’s Eve is a time for new beginnings. Consequently, it can also be a scary time for pets. There is no way to explain what is going on to your dog or cat, and triggers like fireworks, party crackers, and celebrations, in general, can frighten them.
Pet-safe New Year's Eve tips
New Year's Eve is the day of the year with one of the highest reported missing pet incidences, right behind July 4th. That's why it's so important to celebrate your pets in a way that will keep them safe, happy, and healthy. Our pets bring so much joy to our lives, so why not include them in on the festivities? Follow these important pet do's and don'ts to have an enjoyable holiday with your dog or cat.
Don't decorate dangerously
Our number one tip to avoid stressing out your pet is to avoid anything that leaves them overstimulated or scared. Don’t leave your dog in a space with more noise or bright lights than they're used to on a typical day. Try to keep the mood as relaxed as possible so your dog or cat can remain calm. Before breaking out the strobe lights, ensure your dog or cat is in a safe space where they can decompress while the party rages in another room.
We also recommend checking that all decor is pet-safe before bringing any new festive plants or home goods into the home. For instance, did you know that Mistletoe is very toxic to dogs and Poinsettias can be toxic to cats?
Around the holiday period, refrain from using anything in your home that's going to become a danger to your curious copilots.
Don't underestimate distractions
If your dog is a major "toy head", you can use this to your advantage to distract them during peak party time. Treat toys are a great option as they allow pets to stay engaged as they try to release the treats.
Familiarity is also always a comfort to pets, so try to give them toys they play with regularly for the best impact. If a bone is more their speed, try putting a PB - slathered one in their crate or separate room so they can decompress and work on their treat in peace.
If you're the pet parent to a few fabulous felines, try some catnip toys instead!
Don't forget the snacks
Food is the way to many a pet's heart. Dog-friendly holiday treats can be a great way to make homemade, healthy goodies for your pet.
There are even recipes that both humans and dogs can enjoy! Follow a recipe together or with friends and make it into a fun activity.
Don't lose track
If you have a dog or cat who suffers from anxiety, then it is not a good idea to let them out of your sight for too long on New Year’s Eve. Be extra careful when taking them outside to do their business and keep your eye on high-traffic areas and doors at all times.
You may want to designate your pet to a room or two, either by employing doggy gates or simply closing the door for a bit. To ease the pain of separation anxiety, you can turn on some soft music or the TV and drown out any party noises.
How to celebrate New Year's Eve with your pets
What are some activities you can specifically plan to do with your pup or cat on New Year’s Eve? If you aren’t the sort of person who goes out to parties and would rather enjoy a relaxed evening, that's a good opportunity to spend time with your pet instead.
Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise
A long walk can be a good way to burn off some of those Christmas calories for you, and it is also a perfect opportunity to tire out your dog before any festivities begin. For cat moms and dads, a hearty play session with lure toys or catnip can be a great bonding activity.
If your pet has too much built-up, nervous energy, fireworks, and loud noises can increase their anxiety. Ensuring they get enough mental and physical stimulation means they're more likely to sleep through it and cope with celebrations better.
If all else fails, don't be afraid to consult your vet for some as-needed medication. Your pet may appreciate the extra help and you'll enjoy a less-stressful evening, too.
Take a pet-friendly vacation
If you're really looking to switch things up and have a special New Year's Eve with your pet, don't count out a pet-friendly getaway. While this may not be recommended for cats (as travel can stress them), your pup may enjoy a special trip with you!
In fact, a popular destination for the holidays is Las Vegas, with it's warm temps and many options for dog-friendly hotels. And of course, it offers dozens of NYE celebrations to partake in.
Want to get away from a big city and opt for a pet-friendly option near you? Figo has compiled the top pet-friendly AirBnbs in every state so you can find the perfect choice for you and your dog or cat.
Stroll the Christmas markets
Christmas markets are a great idea for friendly, low-anxiety dogs that don’t mind being out and about in crowds. You can pick out some new toys together, or just enjoy a nice walk around to keep your pooch occupied on a day they otherwise don’t enjoy. We recommend keeping your outing to the daytime when the crowds are a little less rowdy.
Go on a holiday light tour
One of the easiest activities is to take your dog on a holiday light tour through your neighborhood. Dress them in their warmest coat if the temperatures are low, and set off on an adventure; New Year's Eve is the perfect day to take in the decorations around you before they're taken down.
You can even recruit the other dog moms and dads in your life to bring their pups along too! Don't forget the hot drinks and some special treats for your pet.
Movie night in
Who says NYE has to be a crazy night? If you and your dog or cat are the homebody type, snuggle up with some snacks and a glass of champagne or two, and host a pet-friendly movie marathon that you and your soulful sidekick can enjoy together.
Invite some other pet parents over for this cozy night in, and you've got the perfect, relaxed evening that your kittens and pups are sure to love, too. If you're in need of some movie and show inspo, we've compiled some of our favorite pet-themed flicks!
Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.