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How to make New Year’s Eve a happy one for your pets

If Christmas is all about eating and drinking, then New Year has all that and a jolly big party as well! However, taking reasonable steps to help those pets, who might find some of the revelry more challenging, should be considered. Here at Hill’s Pet UK, we thought to share some good advice from our dear friends at Medivet Coventry, courtesy of Simon Pudsey, Veterinary Surgeon.

We would all do well to look at how our pets behave when their world is ‘normal’, and this will give us some clues as to how we might help them over the New Year party season. It may well be that your pet will take all this in their stride and not be at all bothered, but for the rest of us, a few pointers could help.

How to help your pets deal with loud or sudden noise

Noise is a very big issue for some pets and if your dog or cat is easily startled, runs away, hides or cowers when there is a sudden noise. Then you should be prepared to think about them when the volume gets turned up and the fireworks are being let off. As a pet parent, you’ll already have seen your pet’s behaviour on other noisy, festive nights, such as Bonfire Night and Diwali. This should have given you some idea of how they react and what worked to help them. A viable option, is to create a safe hideaway place for your pet with some favourite toys and maybe some food treats. This ought to be in a quieter part of the house and your guests should be encouraged to leave the pets alone. An endless stream of those going to say hello and see “how they are” could actually be quite stressful for them.

How to help your pets when you have crowds

Some pets do not respond well to social events and do not necessarily enjoy the company of others, particularly if they come to the party bearing the scent of their own pets. The stimulation may just be too much and you might want to consider how they normally respond to strangers coming up to them. If your pet is the sort that “loves a crowd” and will happily interact with anybody in the park, then they may well be OK. However, we must remember that we might push their limits slightly too far and they could react badly. A little thought might save an unfortunate nip from a pet that has just had way too much.

Why feeding your pet before the party can help?

We might want to consider feeding them a little earlier than usual to give them time to settle before the evening when guests are arriving. They are more likely to eat if their environment is relatively normal and this may well not be the case once the party is under way. A high quality easily digestible food may well be a good idea for this meal, as this might prevent unexpected vomiting, due to excitement.

Whilst much of the above is aimed at thinking about cats and dogs, we must not forget the bunnies, guinea pigs, birds and other small furry friends. These guys, by their very nature are naturally quite afraid and thinking about how you might reduce their stress would help them very much. This might mean moving a hutch into a shed or garage or making sure a cage is in a quieter room.

For some pets, particular treatments and remedies can be helpful. It is probably out of scope for this article to go into these in depth. They can include diets which are specifically formulated to help calm your pet and your vet can advise you on these. It is my opinion you should avoid sedative drugs as these can act as a chemical “straightjacket” where the pet has all the sights and sounds but is unable to act to get away from them. Quite often the desire to ask for sedative drugs suggests that the planning has been left a little late and everyone will be much happier if these matters are thought of in advance.

The New Year party should be fun and safe for you and your guests and stress free for your pets. With a little thought this is quite achievable.

On that note, I hope you have a Happy New Year!

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