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Noise Phobias in Dogs: How to Help Your Dog’s Anxiety on New Year's Eve | Pupford

December 29th, 2023

Filed under Pet Parenting

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As we usher in the New Year, we are filled with excitement and anticipation. However, this is not always the case for our pets.

The accompanying loud noises of fireworks during our holiday celebrations can trigger anxiety. In this blog post, we’ll explore essential aspects of aiding your dog through New Year’s Eve, focusing on understanding noise phobia and reducing stress and anxiety.

Table of Contents:

  1. Understanding Noise Phobia In Dogs
  2. Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm and Safe On New Year’s Eve
  3. Medication Options


dog outside in the winter

New Year’s Eve brings a multitude of sounds, from fireworks to cheering crowds, that can be overwhelming for dogs. Recognizing the signs of noise phobia is crucial for implementing effective strategies to keep your dog safe and calm.

What is Noise Phobia?

Two of the most common noise phobias in dogs are thunderstorms and fireworks.

According to AKC Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Klein, a phobia is an “intense and persistent fear that occurs when a dog is confronted with something that might feel threatening…This fear goes beyond a rational response.”

Why Do Some Dogs Have Noise Phobias?

Phobias can be the result of a previous experience. It can just take one very scary experience for a dog to develop a phobia. The way Dr. Klein explains it is that “Animals don’t understand thunder (or fireworks), and we can’t explain it to them… Phobias are irrational and take on a life of their own.”

Some breeds are more genetically likely to develop a noise phobia than others. Breeds in the herding and gun dog breed groups are particularly sensitive to noise phobias than others. However, all breeds of dogs can still develop phobias.

Recognizing Signs of Noise Phobia

dog with floppy ears

Most dogs suffering from noise phobia will likely seek escape and attempt to flee to get as far away from the danger as possible. This behavior is likely accompanied by other body language such as dilated pupils, excessive panting, pinned ears, shaking or trembling, paw lifting, clammy paws, tense body language, and a reluctance to eat or drink.

Can Noise Phobias Be Prevented?

As we said previously, noise phobias develop from a traumatic experience and some dogs may be more predisposed due to their genetics. While this is often unavoidable, there are things we can do as a prevention measure to help our dogs be more comfortable around noises. This is called sound desensitization. This is the process of slowly introducing a sound at a low volume and associating it with something positive like a treat.

Learn more about sound desensitization in this blog post!

However, it is important to remember that this technique may not be as effective on a dog who is already suffering from an extreme phobia. This technique is ideal for socialization or dogs with mild noise fear or sensitivity.

🐶 Help keep your pup calm with our Calming Puppy Supplements. See today's deal here!


dog with owners by the fireplace

Create A Safe and Quiet Place

Create a designated safe and comfortable space for your dog to relax during the fireworks. Ideally, this place should be in the quietest area of your home, such as a closet, washroom, or the basement. Give your dog comfort items like blankets and toys, and even move their crate in there if that is where they feel safest.

Music and White Noise

In this safe space play calming music, white noise machines, or box fans to drown out loud noises. My dog seems to calm down most while listening to a book on tape. You may need to experiment to see what is most soothing for your dog.

Early Exercise

One thing nice about New Year’s Eve is we know approximately when the fireworks will begin and we can prepare for them. Ensure your dog has had plenty of exercise during the morning and afternoon before the fireworks begin.

Mental Enrichment

Provide your dog with plenty of mental enrichment opportunities throughout the day. Things like puzzle toys, lick mats, snuffle mats, etc. This can help reduce stress and anxiety and tire them out. Be sure to offer these items in the morning and afternoon as they may be reluctant to interact with them or eat once the fireworks begin.

Prevent Escape

border collie in the snow

Did you know that the 4th of July and New Year’s Day are when most pets go missing every year? This is because when dogs are experiencing extreme fear they will often seek escape and run away from their homes. It is important to keep your dog locked inside and check your backyard for any potential places for escape such as open gates or weak spots in the fence. This means you should also take them out for their last potty break of the evening early to avoid being outside when there are fireworks.

Learn what to do if your dog ever escapes or gets loose!

Calming Supplements and Pheromones

Natural solutions for stress relief include supplements and pheromones which can promote relaxation. Supplements are typically chewable tablets or pills (ours are string cheese flavored!) and pheromones can be found in wall plug diffusers, sprays, and collars.

Soothe Them

Stay with your dog in their safe space and offer them reassurance and love by speaking softly to them and giving them pets. It is a myth that offering empathy to our dogs during a time of fear will increase that fear. Wouldn’t you want to be with someone you loved during a time of extreme fear? Leaving them alone or scolding them can increase that fear.

Medication Options

In some cases, especially for dogs with severe noise phobia, it is helpful to consult with a veterinarian for medication options. Your veterinarian may prescribe situation-based anti-anxiety medication or sedatives to help ease the fear and panic your dog is experiencing.


With New Year’s Eve quickly approaching it is important to start thinking about what you can do to alleviate stress and anxiety for your beloved pets.

By understanding noise phobia and incorporating these tips you can significantly reduce your dog's anxiety levels. Remember, every dog is unique, so tailor your approach to suit their individual needs. Happy New Year!

🐶 Help keep your pup calm with our Calming Puppy Supplements. See today's deal here!


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