Keeping Your Pets Safe on New Year’s Eve
By Beth Ward
For most people, New Year’s Eve is a time for fun and celebration. We enjoy going to, or hosting, New Year’s Eve parties with friends, great food and lots of celebratory noise. But for your pets, New Year’s Eve can be a stressful, scary time. Most animals have sensitive hearing, and the loud noises of parties, noisemakers and fireworks can cause them remarkable stress and discomfort. They don’t understand what’s happening and can often become scared and try to escape which can result in the animal becoming lost, endangered or injured.
At Contra Costa County Animal Services, New Year’s Eve is one of our busiest days of the year for taking in lost animals. New Year’s Day is equally busy as we work to reunite lost animals with their owners. Making sure that your animals are licensed, collared and microchipped helps tremendously in reuniting lost animals with their owners, and we cannot stress enough the importance of taking those measures to ensure the safety of your animals.
However, if you know your animal is sensitive to loud noises, there are some helpful steps you can take to make them more comfortable on New Year’s Eve and reduce the chances of them attempting to escape. Whether you are hosting a party or going away for the evening, there are ways you can keep your pet safe and stress free from the noises of celebrations around your neighborhood.
1. Ensure that your pet is wearing a collar that identifies who to contact if they are lost or injured. Additionally, ensuring that your animal is microchipped greatly increases the likelihood of reunification.
2. Keep your pet indoors. Even if they spend the majority of their time outside, bring them in during New Year’s Eve. It will help them feel safe and might save your pet’s life. Many pets go missing during New Year’s Eve because they become so scared by the celebrations and loud noises, which results in them escaping and fleeing.
3. Leave your pet at home if you head out to enjoy a New Year’s Eve celebration. You may think it fun to take your pet with you to a party, but it is likely that your pet will not enjoy the fireworks, noise or large crowds.
4. If you leave your pets at home on New Year’s Eve, consider enlisting a pet sitter for the evening to help keep your pets company and distracted from the noise.
5. Never leave your pets tethered or chained outside on New Year’s Eve. When animals become stressed, they will go to great lengths to escape their bonds and often succeed in breaking free.
6. If you know that your pet is prone to stress from loud noises and outside celebrations, soothe it by closing windows and curtains and turning on the television or a calming radio station to help drown out the noise. Your pet will still be able to “feel” the fireworks, but the distraction will help alleviate some of the stress.
7. Keep an eye out for stray animals that may be suffering outside during New Year’s Eve celebrations. Do your best to help them by calling the Contra Costa County Animal Services to get them off the streets and into a warm, safe place.
In the event that your animal does escape, call Contra Costa County Animal Services’ Lost and Found department at 925-608-8400 to report your lost pet. Our shelters will be open on Saturday, January 2nd, and our staff will be happy to assist in locating and reuniting you with your lost pet.
Beth Ward is the Director of Contra Costa County Animal Services.