Two adorable French Bulldogs wearing Happy New Year headbands, cuddle next to each other, celebrating the New Year.

What To Do on New Year’s Eve with Your Dog

New Year’s Eve celebrations swing in every year, and for a lot of us, they are something to look forward to. Though humans often love the idea of celebrating the new year and all that it will bring, dogs don’t always feel the same way. They might be excited because we are excited, but for a lot of dogs, New Year’s celebrations can be a bit much.

Adorable pug laying down and wearing Happy New Year headband.
Am I invited to the party?

Knowing this, we wanted to give a friendly reminder that this does not mean that pets cannot enjoy this particular holiday. They absolutely can as long as you are willing to take a few steps to make sure that they have fun. Instead of letting your dog dread this time of year, take active steps to make this yet another wonderful holiday to spend with your pup!

New Year’s Eve and Doggos: What You need to Know

Grumpy looking dog wearing a New Year hat watching confetti fall.
Happy you're having the time of your life, me not so much.

Humans know that New Year’s Eve is a night of parties, celebrations, and fun. For doggos, this generally isn’t the case. A lot of these celebrations come with fireworks, unexpected loud noises, and a variety of other concerns that can overstimulate and upset your doggo. As a pawrent, there is nothing more distressing than an upset pup, which is why steps need to be taken.

Every year, there are two holidays that spell disaster for pets: the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. Since these holidays involve loud celebrations and surprising noises, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these are the days every year where the highest number of pets go missing or run away from home.

While we might love the hype, our dogs don’t necessarily feel the same way. Fireworks can startle and hurt pets, which is why keeping your pet as comfortable as possible is so important for this particular holiday. As long as you focus on giving your pet a little extra love with a holiday survival plan, you will find that they can enjoy the holidays just as much as us.

Keeping Pups Safe and Healthy During New Year’s Eve

Champagne being served and two adorable mixed dogs wearing party hats, celebrating the New Year.
Cheers to a New Year!

Before we can talk about ways for you to celebrate this holiday with your doggo, we need to first explore what must be done to keep your pup safe and healthy during this time. With the right approach, you can help to ease the fears of your pets and turn this day into a day of fun instead. Every pup is special and will require their own plan, particularly if you have multiple pets in the home.

Be Aware of Pet Anxiety

Sad dog laying down looking anxious with bright holiday lights in the background.
Don't forget about your furbaby on New Year's Eve.

Any time that New Year’s Eve rolls around, it is important to be aware that pet anxiety is often at an all-time high during this holiday. All of those loud noises and bright lights can be very startling for pets, and this is even more true for pets who get nervous around crowds of people. Dogs that are easily upset by people being outside or being loud will not fare well with this holiday.

Recognizing and preparing for anxiety is a very important part of being a pawrent. As their caregivers, it is up to us to look for those signs of discomfort and take active steps to help them feel better. Since our doggos can’t tell us what is wrong all the time, we must look for signs like tails between the legs, flattened ears, crying, excessive barking, or hiding under stable surfaces. All of these can indicate that your pet is anxious.

Create a Safe Space

Little boy hugging Shih Tzu near a Christimas tree and lights.
Promise to take care of each other.

On a holiday like this, it is important to prepare a safe space for your pet. There are different ways to do this, and they will differ based on the needs of your pet. The ultimate goal here is to create a space where your pet is safe from certain sights and sounds.

A great way to start when creating a safe space is to close all of the blinds. Pets are known to be upset or even interested when people get near the home, and this can be overstimulating. When your neighbors are barbecuing and throwing parties, it is generally a good idea to close the blinds, doors, and windows to block it all out.

Provide Plenty of Comfort

Adorable Jack Russell Terrier laying his head on dog mom's foot, seeking comfort.
Let your heart be filled with love.

Helping your pet to feel safe during this holiday is all about creating that ideal sense of comfort. It might mean putting on your pup’s favorite pair of jammies or just making sure that they have extra blankets to snuggle up in. Above all else, the most comforting thing that you can do for your pet is to be there for them when all of those pesky noises show up.

Making sure that your pet is comfortable can be accomplished in all kinds of fun ways. You can create a little hidey-hole in your home where you guys can hang out, offer alternate background noises to block out the noises from outside, or even embrace certain kinds of pet-focused aromatherapy. Consider what makes your pup happy and go from there.

Keep Pets Indoors

Young woman cuddling with large dog on a chair.
It's just you and me tonight.

A surprising number of pets that go missing on these holidays go missing because they are left outside when something startles them. Leaving a pet in the yard on this holiday is one way to really heighten their anxiety levels. Pets should absolutely not be left outside on this day, particularly if they are being left unsupervised.

Bringing your pets inside will ensure that you always know where they are, and it will stop their instinct to run away in the event of a loud noise. While it might be sad for your pet to be hiding under a table or chair, the fact is that this is certainly better than them sprinting down the street in terror. Keeping your pet inside can help protect them from overstimulation and help them to feel safe with their family.

Consider Pet Anxiety Treatments

Adorable Dachschund Puppy with big eyes, feeling anxious and cuddling with dog mom.
It's okay to be a little nervous sometimes.

Most pawrents are surprised to learn just how many pets suffer from anxiety, but it is very common. Though some pets have certain triggers or have general anxieties that follow them everywhere they go, other pets are fine up until something really goes wrong—and New Year’s Eve can check that box.

Given the amount of anxiety present in pets, the industry has really pulled together to create powerful solutions that can help. There are so many different options available for treating anxiety including prescription medications, CBD dog treats, anxiety jackets, and more. If you aren’t sure what to try with your pet, it is always a good idea to talk to their vet about what options will be effective for them.

Use a Calming Playlist

Dogs are remarkably sensitive to sound, which is why New Year’s Eve is such a point of concern for pawrents every year. However, you can actually use this power for good. Since dogs are sensitive to sounds, you can always use music theory to help ease their fears.

Willow and Dilla know that sometimes even the bravest pup can get a little nervous. With all of those pesky fireworks and sirens, they know that sometimes a good pup just needs a relaxing playlist to calm down. To assist with this, these two loving pups have curated their very own calming playlist for dogs. This playlist was made to help settle doggy nerves and provide an alternate background sound for your home.

Wonderful Ways to Celebrate with Your Pet on New Year’s Day

Boston Terrier Puppy sticking out tongue, wearing a Happy New Year party hat.
I don't know about you, but I'm pooped.

Even though making sure that your pup is comfortable should always be your first priority, it is also great to find ways to celebrate this holiday with your doggo in your own way. There are several fun activities to do with your pet on New Year’s Eve during the day and at night. Embracing these options can help you to ensure that your pup loves this holiday as much as you do.

Go for a Walk, Run, or Hike

Shiba Inu out hiking through the mountains in the winter snow.
Slow down, take a look around and enjoy life.

Pawrents looking to help their pups feel better can really benefit from getting them plenty of exercise during the day on this holiday. A pup that has enjoyed a nice long walk, run, or hike is going to be a sleepy pup—and sleepy dogs are known to snooze right through all of those nasty fireworks outside.

Helping your dog to burn off a little extra energy is a wonderful way to combat their anxiety. Not only will you flood their bodies with good chemicals, but you will also help them to rest easier. A trip to the dog park or time spent running the trails can work wonders for keeping your pet comfortable—and it is an excellent way for you to bond. Instead of setting a New Year’s resolution to exercise more, get ahead of it on the last day of the year with your best canine companion.

Head Out for a Camping Trip

Golden Retriever wearing a santa hat and camping with family for the holidays.
Who's up for roasting marshmallows?

For dogs who really cannot handle fireworks and loud noises, sometimes it can be best to just get away from everyone. If you have a floof that can handle the cold or you live somewhere nice and warm, heading out for a little overnight camping trip can be a wonderful option.

You and your pup can enjoy the silence of nature, avoid all of the chaos of celebrations, and bond in your own way out in the fresh air. This is a great option for dogs who cannot enjoy the holiday without high levels of stress, and it can be pretty magical to get out there and start the new year doing something that you love.

Work on a New Trick

Yorkshire Terrier placing paw in human's hand.
Wanna see a neat trick?

Another great way to help ease your pet’s anxiety is to burn their energy in other ways. Older dogs and younger dogs alike are not always the most active. Some dogs were simply made for hanging out on the couch and watching Netflix. However, even the laziest dogs can burn some of what little energy they have practicing new tricks.

Having your dog work on new tricks is a great way to offer some mental and physical stimulation. Choose a new trick to work on with your pet on this day, and you will see them sleep all afternoon. There are all kinds of exciting tricks to choose from, and pets can also benefit from starting the new year off with a brand-new trick in their skillset!

Hunker Down in the Basement for Movie Watching

Dog wearing a reindeer headband, resting his head on dog mom's lap as his pawrents watch holiday movies.
You. Me. Snuggling on New Year's Eve sounds perfect!

While everyone else starts partying, sometimes the best thing to do with an anxious pup is to bunker down at home if you can. Pawrents with basements can benefit a little extra by making the basement a secure space that is away from all of the excitement and noises.

Dogs love snuggling and lounging with the family, so it is always a good idea to settle in for a night of movie-watching on this particular holiday. This allows you to hang with your doggo while also enjoying the holiday yourself. This is a great time to squeeze in some last-minute holiday movies too!

Attend a Festival

Two beautiful mixed dogs wearing party hats, looking up at the confetti, celebrating the New Year.
Ready to ring in the New Year?

Every year on New Year’s Day, there are all kinds of exciting local festivals. If you have a social pup who loves to go out with people, heading to one of these festivals can be some great daytime fun. Most festivals like this don’t set off fireworks during the day, which makes it a safe space for doggos that aren’t bothered by crowds. Just be sure to check online to confirm that your canine companion is welcome!

The Takeaway

Two adorable French Bulldogs wearing Happy New Year headbands, cuddle next to each other, celebrating the New Year.
It's you and me in 2022!

Ringing in the new year with your doggo can help you to celebrate in a new way while keeping your pup safe and happy. This holiday can mean something different for each of us as the years pass, but it is always nice to have another reason to spend time bonding with your favorite floof. Our pets love every day that we spend with them, so take active steps to bond and share this holiday with them too. Keep them safe, and you will always be happy to wake up to doggie kisses on January 1st!

Until, next time. Thanks for reading!

About the author: Gabrielle is the loving pawrent to adorable pups Willow and Dilla. Growing up surrounded by dogs, she always dreamt of having her own. Willow and Dilla came into her life and changed everything. Now, she's crazy about pampered pooches, and her perfect day involves dancing with her husband, dressing up her furbabies, and cuddling them to sleep. For Gabrielle, life is all about spreading love and joy with her adorable canine companions by her side.