Happy Woof Year: 3 steps for an easy going New Year with dogs

A true t(r)ail blazer: Your 3-phase plan for a stress-free New Year with your dog.
Linda
23.12.2019

At the end of the year, the world should no longer be divided into North and South, or people who love or hate liquorice. On 31 December, as all spirits unite in anticipation of the New Year, there is still a divisive question - Fireworks: yes or no? But for many dog owners, the answer is easy. They know how much the noise can bother their four-legged best friends. That is why, together with Coya dog-owners, we have created this 3-phase plan! By following these suggestions, we hope you will have a stress-free start to the New Year.

It’s hard to deny: We love the brightly lit sky full of colourful fireworks. It is a romantic and beautiful way to leave the old year behind and dream about 2020, even if with the first firework, we quickly forget our New Year’s Resolutions (hey, we speak from experience!). But we have to play the spoilsport for a moment; on New Year’s Eve fireworks release more harmful particulate matter than any other event in the year, almost 4500 tons or about 15% of the annual emissions from all traffic in Germany.

A pussy cat? Not at all, just a stressed puppy!

In the name of the environment and the dogs, we have to ask ourselves: Should this tradition continue? We cannot turn the world and change our habits from one year to the next. But many cities are discussing a general ban on private fireworks. Until this contested firework debate has come to a conclusion, we advise people to refrain completely from fireworks or to burn as little as possible.

As avid dog fans, we have created this list of useful tips so that you may enjoy a stress-free New Year’s Eve. By following this simple 3-phase plan, we hope that you (and your dog) will spend the evening of December 31, and the morning of January 1, without incident. All while still enjoying the fun of the holiday!

Phase 1: Before New Year

Escape the city

If you want to be on the safe side, pack your dog and spend New Year in the country. Whether that’s in a cabin in the woods, on a farm, or with grandma in her little village! A night away from the city won’t have the wild parties that are so loud and can be a nightmare for many dogs. The earlier you plan for the holiday travel, the cheaper the trip, so try to book ahead! You may find the time away to be the ideal start to the New Year.

Bag of tricks

New Year’s Eve is no usual night, so your usual treats and rewards may not do the trick to ease your dog’s stress on this day. Consider going to the vet and asking for help. There are fantastic herbal remedies based on lactic acid or CBD that your dog may benefit from. CBD is the active ingredient in the female cannabis plants that have little psychoactive effect; it is now used in the form of oil or drops to treat anxiety, nausea, and cramps. CBD can also be administered to dogs under supervision and in small quantities. Before starting any new medication, test this variant a few weeks before New Year's Day.

Full speed

There are dogs that can learn to withstand stressful situations and do well on New Year’s Eve. But this has to be learned. If you spend New Year's night with your dog in a place that cannot be hermetically sealed and turned into a cuddling zone, try to get your dog used to noise and lots of people. But don’t rush it! Before New Year's Eve, take walks around the busy city center, drop a pot in his presence, or run along on the fringes of a demonstration. Be on the lookout for signals that your dog is uncomfortable. You can recognise fear and stress by, among other things, a drawn-in tail, panting, and tightly fitting ears that are folded back. If the stress it too much for your dog even with this training, consider taking your dog to a quiet place for the night. Maybe to your parents? Friends? The aunt in the country?

Phase 2: On 31 December

Nesting

Planning on hosting a New Year's party is at your apartment? How fun! Just make sure that your dog has a quiet retreat where there is no music playing or lots of people standing around. This may include setting up a nest in your bedroom or even in your bed, a special treat if your dog isn’t normally allowed on the furniture. Dogs are pack animals and follow their instincts in stressful and dangerous situations. They will seek a place to hide when it gets loud or overwhelming. A blanket, dim light, some love, and closed windows may be just the ticket - actually everything that also calms us down.

Puppy eyes

364 days a year you are very disciplined in giving out treats. Your dog gets them as a reward for good behavior and new tricks only. And while you should continue this behavior in 2020, make an exception on December 31. Today, you can give treats for anything that will stop your dog from getting scared. Snacks for cuddling, for not barking, for staying in his bed. This can help to show the dog that everything is fine today. Don’t worry - you won't destroy all that good parenting in one evening. But, if you are worried that you will throw the reward center completely off course, you can distract your dog with games and tricks on New Year's Eve. Thinking games are distracting for your dog and ideal when the fireworks are banging outside.

Last round

You take your dog out for a pee-pee every night in all weathers at 10:30; that's a great routine! But it might not be one you want to stick with on 31 December. People start setting off the first firecrackers in the afternoon. The city center quickly becomes a taboo zone for you and your dog in the evening. Try going for a walk as early as possible on New Year's Eve. Of course, this means that your dog will have to squeeze all four legs together for a few hours longer in the morning. But if you wake up early on 1 January, New Year's Eve will soon be forgotten. Watch out for broken glass on your morning walk and then snuggle up on the sofa at home to watch cartoons together.

Phase 3: 2nd January

Recap

So, how'd it go? Was your dog relaxed? Were you? The friendship between man and dog is a symbiotic one, so the start of a New Year should be as pleasant as possible for you both. We are sure that you take the responsibility for your dog seriously. But we also think that you should only make compromises that you can live with. The motto for the third and final phase is "after New Year's Eve is before New Year's Eve". You now have a year to prepare for 2021 and find the perfect balance for you both. Reflect on what went well. What would you do better? Was your dog relaxed despite the noise of the rockets? If you still feel like a new dog-owner, don’t be afraid to seek advice from experts on what you can do differently the next New Year's night.

Do you need dog liability insurance or know other dog-owners who need insurance? Click here and you can be insured with Coya in a few minutes. With Coya Dog Liability, you can relax and be stress-free with your pup!

Header Image and image in text: Coya AG ©/Unsplash
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