UAE: 5 tips to keep your pets calm during the NYE celebrations

Loud sounds can cause stress and anxiety in pets, says expert


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Fri 30 Dec 2022, 4:43 PM

Last updated: Fri 30 Dec 2022, 11:34 PM

Loud sounds such as fireworks or music can be very stressful for pets, and animal or bird lovers in the UAE are being advised by experts to take steps to keep their pets calm during the New Year’s eve celebrations.

“As impressive as these festivities are, fireworks can cause stress and anxiety in pets,” said Dr Sara Elliott, founder and director of the British Veterinary Hospital and Marina Vet Clinic in Dubai.

Loud noises startle animals, and it is best to keep them away from it.

Farah Sarfraz lives in the Downtown area and has a dog named Litchi. “The first year, we moved here, we kept the TV switched on and shut all the doors and windows to cut of loud sounds” she said.

“Thankfully the fireworks are not at all noisy if you shut the windows, and we found out that Litchi actually enjoys watching them.”

The Indian expat and her husband always stay home with their pet during NYE and they are ready at hand to offer comfort. “Sometimes, the sound of emergency vehicles passing by startle her a bit,” she said.

“In such cases, we hug her and give her food. She feels much calmer when eating. Also, we make sure to never take her out in the evening as it gets very busy and noisy outside our building.”

Another pet owner Kimberley Bostock said she also takes several precautions to ensure that her cats Bowie and Ziggy don’t get agitated during the NYE celebrations. “I live near a golf club that has fireworks and you can hear and see a lot of the other fireworks displays from my apartment,” she said.

“To calm my cats, I put on the TV, for background noise, and make sure that I play with them throughout the day, so they are more tired than usual. I also give them catnip about half an hour before the fireworks start, as it calms them down.”

Here are five tips shared by Dr Elliott to keep your pets calm during the festivities

1. Walk your dog earlier in the day

If your dog is used to morning and evening walks, the walk the pet twice throughout the day on New Year’s Eve. The festivities may start as early as sunset, and crowds may begin to gather. Always keep your dog on a lead in case they are startled and run off due to busier areas and the sights and sounds that accompany them. Exercising your dog for a little longer than usual will help tire them out, which will make them more relaxed later in the evening when the celebrations commence.

2. Keep your dogs and cats indoors

Keep your pets indoors from the late afternoon to ensure they are not out when the fireworks begin. This also helps to shelter them from noisy crowds, which could frighten them. Spend extra time with them during the day in your garden or in a pet-safe balcony to ensure they get some playtime outside.

3. Create a safe sanctuary

Pets tend to hide when they are frightened or anxious. Ensure there is an area in your house where your pet can retreat to if the noise gets too much. Leave all internal doors open to allow them to roam wherever they wish and place their favourite toys and bedding throughout the rooms to create safe spaces. If you have any Christmas boxes left over, place a few of these throughout your house, as we all know cats love to hide and play in boxes.

4. Background noise

Familiar noises like the television or radio can help distract your pets from the loud noise fireworks cause. Not only will they mask the sounds of the outdoor celebrations, but a common sound your pets are used to will also help them feel more comfortable and secure.

5. If possible, countdown to 2023 with your pets

Pets often deal better with upsetting situations with their nearest and dearest close by. If it’s possible, stay at home with your pet or ask a trusted friend, colleague, or qualified pet-sitter to stay with them to bring in the new year. If this isn’t possible, there’s no need to feel guilty. When you return home, give your pets their own New Year’s Eve party and shower them with extra love, attention, and treats.


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