Wondering what to do on New Year’s Eve with your dog or cat? You’ve come to the right place. The end of year can be a great time with fun, music and fireworks. Who doesn’t love it?

Well… sad to say, but your pets. Celebrations like New Year’s Eve can be dangerous and even cause your dog to get majorly spooked or your cat to hide away from the stress of it all. So if you’re wondering what to do on New Year’s Eve – safely – with your pets, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive right in.

Why New Year’s Eve can be dangerous for your pets

You might think it’s just like any other day for your dog or cat – but think again. According to the German animal welfare organization TASSO¹, New Year’s Eve is the day of the year when more furry friends are reported lost than any other. In the United States, the only other day on which more pets go missing is the Fourth of July.

Fireworks, noise, and loud music can be an intense, frightening experience for your dog or cat. Which is a prime reason why dogs run away or cats hide. I.e., they have the natural instinct to go and find shelter.

A scared kitten hiding in a tree

And on a night like New Year’s Eve, you might find your pet missing because:

  • They were frightened by loud noises, like parties, fireworks, music
  • They were overwhelmed by large crowds of people they don’t know (like your guests)
  • They got spooked from unfamiliar surroundings and scents (which can overwhelm them and cause them to run away in a panic)
  • They were stressed from a change to their normal routine

Under these unusual circumstances, your pets may run away or hide at the first opportunity they get. Which is why it’s a good idea to prevent them from getting scared in the first place…but also planning ahead for what to do if they do escape.

What to do on New Year’s Eve with your dog or cat (or both!)

Having a pet-friendly New Year’s Eve is easier than it looks. The only catch? It’s better planning your whole day with your dog or cat in mind – not just the evening party.

1. Tire out your pet before the festivities begin

On 31st morning, make sure to get in an extra long walk or tire out your dog or cat with some vigorous playtime. Why? Simple. Because a tired pet is more likely to chill out on New Year’s Eve. (And less likely to run away.)

Read more: How to tire out a puppy, How to get a cat to exercise

A dog and a cat playing with a feather toy indoors

💡You can also track your pet’s daily activity with Tractive’s Activity Tracking. With its built-in motion detector, it picks up on how many minutes your dog or cat was active throughout the day. So a great way to ensure they’ve gotten enough exercise – and that they’ll sleep better in the evening.

Tractive Trustpilot review

2. Keep your pets away from dangerous substances.

Candy, cigarettes, alcohol – there’s no end to substances toxic to dogs or poisonous to cats. So this New Year’s Eve, make sure to avoid dangerous substances like:

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Cigarettes and drugs, including second hand marijuana smoke²
  • Chemicals
  • Toxic houseplants
  • Salty snacks
  • Meat with bones

Many foods that are harmless (and even healthy) for humans might be fatally toxic to dogs and cats. Like, for example, onions, mushrooms, garlic, and chocolate. So make sure to:

  • Feed your pets their regular dog food or cat food before your big evening.
  • Keep them away from the kitchen if you’re hosting guests over (and cooking a big meal.)
  • Inform your guests (especially your younger ones) which foods are off-limits for pets.
A pair of kittens eating from a bowl

Be mindful your pets stay away from any alcohol, human foods, or drugs. Dogs or cats who have consumed alcohol may become lethargic, vomit, have difficulty walking, or even experience drops to blood pressure and body temperature³.

Read more:

Especially if you’re at a friend’s house or away from home, there might be unknown dangerous substances around. You don’t want to have to take an emergency visit to the vet on what could be one of the most fun days of the year.

3. Be extra careful during walks outdoors.

Now you might be considerate of your neighbors and might have kept the fireworks for later in the day. But other folks might test out fireworks ahead of New Year’s Eve – or set them off even before it’s dark out. And like we’ve mentioned, sudden loud noises can majorly spook your pet. (Even triggering their instinct to run away.)

So keep your pet on a leash, and make sure their collar ID tag is properly attached. But besides these, we’d also recommend:

  • Microchipping your dog or cat. A microchip is a tiny electronic device a vet can implant into your pet’s shoulder blades. It functions like a permanent ID card for your pet. So if they go missing, a helpful stranger can take them to a vet or local animal shelter. Who can scan your pet for a microchip, find your contact details, and inform you they’ve found your pet.

Read more: Microchipping for dogs, Microchipping for cats

  • Investing in a pet GPS tracker. So if your dog or cat bolts from their leash or from your backyard, you can immediately track them in real-time – and over an unlimited range. Or set up a “safe zone” in your home and get an alert from your pet’s tracker if they’ve escaped it.

Because why ruin your New Year’s Eve hunting down a missing dog or cat? Rather, with a dedicated pet GPS tracker, you’ll have 100% peace of mind knowing you can follow their every step – and track them down, no matter where they are.

Tractive pet monitoring GPS tracker

Always know where your pets are

Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your pet too.

Discover GPS & Health Trackers For Pets

4. Create a safe space for your pets indoors.

As a general rule, try and keep your pets indoors. (Or at the very most, your backyard.) If you’re having guests over on New Year’s Eve, think ahead and dedicate a room or a confined space for your pets. Fill the space with their bed sheets – some food, if you wish – and other familiar items. This room will be your pet’s safe place during the evening.

Besides, try and keep your pets busy: a new toy or puzzle feeder can help keep them occupied while you’re away.

A cat wearing a bandanna sitting on a couch indoors

Dogs can hear four times as well as humans²and cats around 3 times as well.3 So fireworks, firecrackers, and the like may cause extreme stress in your furry friend. If possible, take your dog to a quiet place, away from the party or fireworks. If they could, your dog would thank you for it.

💡Your Tractive device can even help you locate your hiding pet indoors! (Because a scared dog or cat might hide away somewhere they get stuck in or that’s difficult to squeeze out of. Where you can’t hear them crying or barking for you.) Here are three quick and easy ways to locate your pet indoors with Tractive.

Tractive Trustpilot review

5. Spend quality time together.

Try to spend as much time with your dog or cat on New Year’s Eve as you can. Since they are likely to be frightened on this day, be sure that when you engage with your pets, you do so calmly.

So; what to do on New Year’s Eve with your dog to spend quality time together? Here are some ideas:

  • Play some quick fetch to tire them out. (Or tug of war if you’ve got a teething puppy at home.)
  • Have a movie marathon. (Maybe Beethoven, K9, or Turner & Hooch.)
  • Host a small, dog-friendly gathering – invite your dog friends!
Dogs playing outdoors in the snow
  • Bake dog (and human) treats together.
  • Build a fort together.
  • Listen to calming music. Dogs tend to chill out best with reggae and soft rock. Cats, on the other hand, are a tad more sophisticated and relax best to classical music.

6. Keep up routines involving sleep, food and water.

Dogs and cats are both creatures of habit and routine. So a sudden change can stress them out unnecessarily. (And likely trigger an escape attempt – maybe even to find you!)

So do your best to follow your pet’s daily routine when it comes to feeding and sleep time. Feed them around the same time as most days and make sure to tire them out with some playtime before you head out for the evening. This routine can help your dog or cat feel safe – and less likely to run away from fear.

A woman feeding her dog in a living room

💡Worried your dog or cat might escape home? Your Tractive device helps you set up a Virtual Fence around your house and backyard. With this, you can create a “safe zone” or “no go zones” for your pets. Now if they step outside of it, you’ll instantly get an alert on your phone. (Helping you prevent an escape attempt.)

Tractive Trustpilot review

7. Don’t leave your pet home alone

If you have plans to be somewhere, don’t leave your pet home alone. Both dogs and cats are more vulnerable to pet thieves during the holiday season, when most folks aren’t at home.

So make sure to get a friend or neighbor to check up on your pet during New Year’s Eve. Better yet, drop them over at a loved one’s for the evening. Together, they can watch TV or listen to some relaxing music (see the video below), and enjoy a peaceful New Year’s Eve together.

A woman holding a cat on a couch

💡One of the best ways to pick up on if your pet has been stolen? Tracking their movements in real-time. Like the story of Kathy the Beagle, who was busy at her hunting dog training – with her dad tracking her position with Tractive’s LIVE Mode.

Suddenly, he noticed her speed picking up and moving way off course – indicating she was now in a car and being driven off by pet thieves.

But still live-tracking her position, he was able to alert the police. After a two hour car chase, they were able to rescue Kathy, safe and sound.

Tractive Trustpilot review

So…what to do on New Year’s Eve with your pets?

Here’s a summary of what we’ve covered, in one helpful checklist:

  • Tire out your pets in advance. A ton of exercise can help your dog or cat sleep better – and be less likely to run away if they get spooked by fireworks or loud noises.
  • Stay informed on what’s toxic to dogs and cats. Besides some human foods (like onions and garlic), pets are vulnerable to common household items, like some houseplants and also alcohol. So keep these away – and inform your guests as well.
  • Be extra careful during walks outdoors. The sound of pre-New Year’s Even fireworks can spook your pets and make them more likely to run away.
  • Create a safe space for your pet indoors. Ideally, leave behind an item with your scent (like a shirt) and a toy to keep them engaged.
  • Spend some quality time together with your pet. This can help both tire them out before the evening festivities – or feel happy and safe, knowing you’ve got their back.
  • Keep up the same feeding and sleep time routines. These can help your pets feel calmer and more secure. (A change in routine can stress them out instead.)
  • Don’t leave your pets home alone. Pets in empty homes are prime targets for pet thieves. Rather, get a friend or family member to take them in for the evening.

And finally…

Stay on top of your pet’s escape attempts with a GPS tracker

Because the stress of coming home to find your buddy missing is never worth it – but the peace of mind knowing you can follow their every step always is.

Cattery owner and trainer, Clair Chesterman

“Tractive is the #1 cat GPS tracker in the industry. And it’s the highest quality cat tracker you can find. I was able to set the safe zone as my house area and once my cat gets outside I get an alert right away. In fact, it probably saved my cat’s life that time she chased a bird and got lost. She was scared and I was able to find her with the help of the GPS tracker. Tractive’s chip frequently calculates your cat’s location and is updated on the map every 2-3 seconds. Furthermore, the LED will help you guard your furry friend at night.”

– Clair Chesterman, Owner of CFA and CCA-registered cattery and fostering company, FluffyMeowPaws

Track Your Pet With Tractive

That way, you can ensure a smooth and successful New Year’s Eve for both you and your furry friend.

Now that you know what to do on New Year’s Eve to keep your dog safe and sound – we wish you a lovely holiday celebration! And if you want some inspo, here’s a New Year’s Eve pool party organized by the Barkely Manor County Park:

Know a friend or loving wondering what to do on New Year’s Eve with their pets? Share this article with them and let’s have a safe, happy New Year’s celebration with our furry friends this year.