Keep your pets stress-free during New Year revelry

Do you find the shrill, explosive sound of firecrackers annoying? Now, imagine how your pet dog or cat might feel on New Year's Eve.

Our family's large and muscular basset hound, Cody, weighs about 50 pounds. He used to run and hide whenever he heard loud firecrackers. He tried to squeeze his way into wherever he could–under the bed, the dining table, or a bench. He wouldn't eat or drink until the noise from the firecrackers eased up.

Amazingly, our new puppy, Toby, a tiny teacup poodle, doesn't find firecrackers the least bit stressful. Despite the noise from our neighbor's firecrackers, he goes about whatever he is doing with casual swagger–playing with his stuffed toys or chewing over socks.

The sad thing is, he developed canine cough that most likely came from the smoke of firecrackers. We brought him to the vet, where he was given antibiotics and vitamins to cope with the cough. Some dogs, like the author's tiny teacup poodle named Toby, seen here, don't get affected by loud noises. However, Toby did develop a bad canine cough from firecracker smoke after the Christmas eve revelry. Photo by Riz Pulumbarit To help pet owners avoid stressful situations during the New Year's Eve revelry, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia offered practical advice on keeping pets safe and healthy.

In a news release, PETA stated: “To dogs, cats, and other animals, firecrackers must seem more like World War III than a celebration.

“Many animals go missing because they panic and jump over fences or break chains; animals have even jumped through plate-glass windows in order to get away from the terrifying sounds,” noted PETA, which supports the call for the total ban on firecrackers.

PETA’s Rochelle Regodon said, "Firecrackers are a nightmare for both domestic and wild animals."

Keep them stress-free

PETA urged pet owners to keep their companion animals safe during the New Year's Eve celebrations with the following tips:

1) Keep cats and dogs indoors: Inside a room, pets will feel safer during fireworks displays and firecracker explosions, especially if their owners stay with them.

2) Act happy and calm: This will reinforce the idea that your pets don’t have a reason to be afraid, especially if they see you unperturbed.

3) Leave your animals at home during the celebrations: Never take them with you to watch firecracker displays.

4) Do not leave your animals chained outside the house: The loud noise from firecrackers is too stressful for them.

5) Keep windows and curtains closed: Play some classical music or turn on the TV to help drown out the sound of the fireworks.

PETA also urged the public to report to them any animal injured by firecrackers at this mobile number: 0999-888-7382. More information is available at PETAAsiaPacific.com.

Collars and exercise

Meanwhile, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) also came out with friendly guidelines for pet owners, especially during the New Year's Eve celebration. Some of the reminders posted on the PAWS Facebook page include:

1) Keep their collars and dog tags on at all times: This will be very useful when pets get scared and run away because of firecrackers. PAWS urged owners to ensure that their contact details are visible on the tag and the collar is secure.

2)

Give your dog lots of exercise: PAWS urged canine owners to “exercise, water, and potty your dog an hour or so before the festivities start.”

3) Keep the door closed: In a safe and secure room, give pets a bed and blanket where they can burrow into. “Close the windows so the noise is muffled and they can't get out, just leave enough opening for ventilation. Play relaxing music. Turn on the air conditioner if that is an option. KEEP THAT DOOR CLOSED,” PAWS advised, especially since many dogs escape and run away in fear during New Year's Eve.

4) No “watusi” in the house: If pets lick or ingest the watusi firecracker, it could be fatal. “Keep all those explosives inaccessible to your pets,” PAWS advised.

5) Keep anti-stress aids handy: Ask a vet or a pet store for anti-stress aids such as snug body wraps.

6) Keep dangerous food out of their reach: PAWS urges owners to read the Dangerous Food list on the WebMD website.

If you keep these tips in mind during the New Year's Eve merry-making madness, you will have nothing to worry about and you can happily welcome 2013 with your loved ones, including your pets. – KDM/YA, GMA News

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