Are cats afraid of dogs?

New Year's Eve with dog and cat

For many people, the fireworks on New Year's Eve are fun, for animals it is often stressful. The noise is particularly stressful for dogs and cats, as they have a much finer hearing than humans. In many four-legged friends, the bang even triggers panic. Pet owners can take precautions to ensure that their animals start the new year safely.

If a fear-inducing noise event such as New Year's Eve is imminent, the following measures can help ensure that the dog or cat survives the situation with as little fear as possible. It is important to isolate the animal from the popping noises as much as possible. All doors and windows should be closed tightly, shutters and blinds lowered, and curtains drawn. The animal should be able to easily and unrestrictedly reach its favorite places and also possible places of escape and retreat. This can be, for example, a cave-like transport box or a darkened room with a place to hide.

Special hearing protection or silicone earplugs

Known noises, e.g. music or the television, can distract the animal from the bang. It is best to turn it up a little louder than usual to put the noise of the popping noises into perspective. Wearing special dog ear protection (e.g. Mutt Muffs®, similar to headphones) or silicone earplugs can help, but you have to get the dog used to them beforehand.

When animals concentrate hard, they cannot slide into fear. This fact can be used by pre-occupying the dog with attractive chewing material, with toys that are filled with food, for example, search games, brain teasers or simple obedience exercises in which many rewards are used and thus distracting them from the popping noises. Once the dog is panicking with fear, such measures no longer promise success. Since self-generated noises usually do not trigger any fears, the dog should be encouraged to play loudly, e.g. with a hard plastic toy filled with dry food ("food ball").

The company of an adult, confident dog who is not afraid of noises can be beneficial for young dogs. Conversely, young dogs should be kept separate from animals that are afraid of noise, in order to avoid “transferring” the fear. Animals that suffer from fear of noise should not be left alone on New Year's Eve.