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Happy (Safe) New Year!


One year ends, another begins - time to celebrate!  Just make sure your best friend is safe and protected so you can both enjoy the new year together.


This coming New Year’s Eve, lots of folks will be celebrating the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one. It can be fun for us humans but for our pets, it may be a frightening time, especially if the celebration includes fireworks.

Animals’ ears are more sensitive than ours. The loud explosions can be both painful and terrifying. In their panic, pets may try to get away from the sound by running, or digging or chewing their way out of wherever they are in an effort to find a safe quiet place away from the noise. In the process they can end up lost and unable to find their way home. Some may be injured by crashing through a glass window or door or even killed when they try to cross a busy street.

There are some things you can do to help keep your best friend safe. Begin by making sure your pet is wearing some sort of identification such as a collar with tags. Even better, also have it microchipped so that even if the collar is lost, veterinarians and shelters can help your animal find its way back home to you.

Avoid taking your pet to places where you know there will be fireworks. If they are in your neighborhood and you just can’t get away from it, don’t leave your outside pet unattended outdoors. Bring it into an enclosed place, such as a garage or laundry room, until the next morning. House pets should be kept indoors. If your dog must go outside to relieve itself, put it on a leash and take it out just long enough to accomplish the mission.

Indoors, you can make some arrangements that will help to keep your pet calm. Close the blinds or drapes to hide any flashes of light that may accompany the fireworks. A little music – maybe from the radio or a CD – can help cover some of the noise. Distract your pet by playing a game with it – that will entertain both of you. Above all, the best way to keep your best friend calm – stay home and keep it company.

A quiet evening at home snuggling up with your furry friend could be the perfect way to ring out the old year and make sure both of you have a great new year – when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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