Dogs, fireworks and New Year: Expert tips on keeping your adorable pup safe and happy over Hogmanay celebrations

The Hogmanay celebrations may be muted this year – particularly north of the border – due to Covid restrictions, but there are still some tips you should follow to make sure your four-legged friend has the perfect start to 2022.

Friday, 31st December 2021, 9:24 am

Many of us will be staying at home this year, but there are still likely to be fireworks, party food and visitors (within the Scottish Government’s Covid guidance) – all things that can cause dogs some distress.

As part of their drive for the ‘pawfect’ festive season, fashion and homeware retailer Matalan have teamed up with Veterinary Physiotherapist Tilly Wild to share some expert tips to make sure it’s a happy Hogmanay for your pet.

Here’s here key canine advice.

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Loud noises

The bang of party poppers and loud fireworks can sometimes spook your pet, especially if your dog has noise phobias or anxiety.

Think about the activities that lie ahead and pre-empt loud noises whilst making sure your pet is calm and comfortable.

Try not to fuss over your pet too much though if they do become afraid, as this only confirms they are right to feel scared.

There are a few things you can do to ensure your dog has a happy start to 2022.

Instead, try providing your dog with a safe space such as their crate, den or puppy pen with lots of interesting and fun things such as their favourite toys and long lasting chews to keep them occupied.

Visitors

New people If you’re hosting, or have taken your dog along to the party, there may be lots of people around, so make sure you put some time aside for your dog.

It can be a natural reaction for dogs to get easily overwhelmed or over-excitable, so try to find a quiet space to help them calm down in.

Just like your dog, children may be excitable too, which can be hard for some dogs to tolerate.

If children will be present, make sure they know how to handle a dog and don’t leave them alone together without supervision.

Walks

Try to keep to your dog’s routine as much as you can during the festive period to give them consistency.

A walk is a perfect way to give them timeout to calm down, exert some energy or have some fun of their own.

However, wintery weather can be unpleasant for your pup’s paws, so watch out for frosty grass and salt grit, and ensure to give their feet a wipe when you get home.

Outdoor time

With so much going on, don’t forget to let your dog out to the toilet every now and again, whether that means excusing yourself from your guests or nipping back after a few hours if you’ve left them home alone whilst you head out for some Hogmanay fun.

And if you are away for periods of time, provide mental stimulation activities such as long-lasting chews or enrichment games to keep your dog occupied and stress free whilst you are gone.

Food

With so much party food around it’s important to know what you can and can’t let your dog get its paws on.

Cooked bones, chocolate, alcohol, blue cheese, raisins, caffeine and macadamia nuts should all be off the menu – while there’s no harm in popping some leftover vegetables or sausages in your pup’s bowl.

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