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Every New Year’s Eve, most people look forward to the explosive sights and sounds of fireworks displays, but most pets don’t feel the same way. Dogs and cats hear a broader range of sounds than humans. So, the explosive sounds of fireworks can terrify them, cause them to run away or even turn violent.

To avoid this, here are five quick tips to better ensure your pet’s safety and security when the clock strikes midnight and the fireworks go off.

1. Leave Pets at Home

Don’t take your dog to a fireworks display or leave them tied up outdoors. During holidays involving fireworks, animal shelters commonly see an influx of panicked pets who’ve run off to escape the noise. Set up a warm and secure indoor place for your pet to retreat on New Year’s Eve but ultimately let your pet choose the place that feels safest. If your pet decides to hide under the bed, for example, let your pet remain there undisturbed until they feel safe enough to come out.

2. Mind the Doors and Windows

If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party, an open door from the comings and goings of people can present an escape opportunity for a pet panicked by the noise. So be mindful of the door as guests arrive and leave and mind the windows as well. While an open window may offer welcome fresh air when the temperature in your home rises from gathered guests, pets can (and do) see open windows as one more escape route. To prevent this, comfortably settle your pet into a separate room or a familiar crate. Close the windows and draw the curtains to both help muffle the sound of fireworks and screen out startling flashes, flares, etc.

3. Chasing Pets Can Make Them Run Even More

Under normal circumstances, a runaway pet may recognize you and come when called. Yet in a heightened state of anxiety caused by fireworks, your pet’s instinct to escape danger can take over, and chasing your pet to get them home safely can cause them to run even more. So be patient in your hunt for a runaway pet. Call out your pet’s name reassuringly as you walk along looking for them. Carry along some food or treats to entice them back to you, and in a worst-case scenario, contact your local Human Society to enlist their help.

Make Sure Your Pet Has an Updated ID Tag

While some pets will find their own way home after running away, some will wind up in shelters while many will be found by other people, and your odds of seeing your pet again are greatly improved if your pet has an updated ID microchip or collar tag.

Don’t Scold Your Pet

While you understand as a human that fireworks are not some attack on your home by alien invaders, you may feel that fear of fireworks is silly. Or you may even feel embarrassed by your pet’s frightened behavior in front of New Year’s Eve party guests. But do not scold or punish your pet. Such behavior only confirms your pet’s fear that something is dreadfully wrong and will only make a situation worse.

We all want to have a great time on New Year’s Eve. And with a bit of planning, your pet can have a great time too.

Have a warm and wonderful New Year.

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