Whether you go out and celebrate New Year’s Eve, host a party at home or just sit and watch it all happening on the television, your pets are likely to be affected by New Year’s Eve. Each year the RSPCA takes steps to help people to understand the effects of the festive season on animals and urges them to take a few simple steps to keep their own pets safe. So here are a few things to bear in mind this year, however you celebrate the passing of 2013.
Obviously fireworks are a big part of New Year’s Eve celebrations. From large, organised events to impromptu back garden displays, you will hear fireworks pretty much wherever you are in the country when the clocks strike twelve.
Unfortunately so will your pets, and whilst you will have heard and understood the significance of the countdown to midnight, all your pets will know about it is when explosions akin to a tactical air assault begin.
If you have a dog or other pet (rabbits, guinea pigs etc.) that would normally live in your garden, please make sure that you bring them inside during the day on New Year’s Eve and keep them inside until the morning. Give them lots of reassurance when the bangs start. If you have a dog that gets particularly frightened and even aggressive when it hears loud noises then make sure that you and your family are safe – don’t put your dog in a position where it might snap at people.
If you are hosting a party at home then there will of course be far more people ‘invading’ a pet’s territory than it is accustomed to. It should go without saying that if your pet reacts aggressively towards people then if you still want to host a party at home either ask a relative or someone who knows your pet to look after it for the evening.
Or, failing that, keep your pet in a familiar room with some toys and comforting objects and remember to keep visiting it to give it reassurance. If you pet is quite comfortable with people and visitors and wants to join in the celebrations then ask your guests not to feed your pets and keep leftovers or buffet foods out of reach of pets. Alcohol, salt and chocolate are all toxic and can kill animals.
If your pet escapes from your home or garden – maybe when guests are coming in and out – it will probably come back when things are back to normal.
If your pet has not returned and you are concerned, call your local veterinary surgeries and ask to leave details of your pet – most will have a ‘lost’ list that they can check if an unidentified animal is brought in. A pet with a collar or micro-chip is easy to identify. Also contact local animal shelters and the RSPCA for the same reason – the RSPCA can offer detailed advice on how else you can find your pet.
The RSPCA and some other shelters are registered charities run largely by volunteers – please consider making a donation when you call.