New Year’s Eve is upon us, with big celebrations planned across the land. Unfortunately, while fireworks can be lovely for your guests, your dog might not be so keen.

For some of our beloved dogs, cats, and other pets, New Year’s Eve isn’t fun or exciting. In fact, it can be terrifying for them – with the loud pops of fireworks seeming like a scary threat.

While dogs may show clear signs of distress - from whining and barking to not eating - it can be more difficult to identify the signs in cats. 

Some will hide their fear of fireworks, but others will show much more obvious signs such as dilated pupils, hissing or low grumbling and withdrawal. They’re also likely to arch their back and crouch, pin their ears back and make slow low movements. 

To help keep your cats and dogs calm and safe this New Year’s Eve, experts from pet brand PetSafe have shared their eight top tips: 

Create a safe space

One of the best ways to prepare your pet for fireworks is to make them a quiet space away from loud bangs and bright lights, where they can feel safe and secure. Use their crate or choose a quiet room and add blankets and bedding to help muffle noises and some of their favourite toys.

Distract them with familiar sounds

Distract your pet from the sound of fireworks by playing familiar noises – the radio, music or a TV programme. Again, when they remain calm and settled, reward with healthy treats and positive attention. Puzzle toys are another good way to distract them.

Keep them indoors when it’s dark

Walk and toilet your dog when it’s light and feed cats earlier, so they know to come home before it goes dark. And don’t forget the litter trays.

Keep windows and doors shut

Dampen the sound of fireworks by keeping windows, doors and pet doors locked shut. This also means that frightened pets won’t be able to escape if they’re spooked. Also check for any holes or gaps in fence panels that could provide escape routes.

Close the curtains 

Closing curtains is another easy and effective way to reduce the sound of the fireworks and dim bright flashes.

In case your cat or dog bolts with fear, make sure they’re wearing collars and tags – and that their microchip details are up to date - so that you can be quickly reunited.

Keep them hydrated

Dogs can pant more when anxious, which can cause dehydration. So, make sure you keep their water bowl topped up. For reluctant drinkers, pet fountains are a great way to encourage consumption.

Keep calm

To help make your pet feel safe and secure during displays, act normal and reassure them. Pets will quickly pick up on their owners’ stress, so try to remain calm and send positive signals to him. Don’t try to tempt them out of any hiding places - making a fuss will give them good reason to panic - so stay relaxed.

PetSafe’s Rob Steele said: “Whilst we expect fireworks on New Year’s Eve, loud bangs and bright flashes can be very startling for cats and dogs. Their acute hearing makes them more sensitive to sounds, and they’re also likely to be more perceptive to the smell than their owners. 

“As with all wild animals, cats and dogs associate loud noises with danger and will be stressed and fearful. But by following these nine simple steps, we’ll be doing a great deal to help our pets get through the night with as little stress as possible - for everyone.”