Your furry friend can identify your footsteps from afar, even before you have knocked on your front door. That’s how strong the sound sensitivity in dogs is. Therefore, imagine what havoc the loud noises of firecrackers in Diwali does to your dog. According to many vets, loud noise could stress your dog into insistent whining, poor health, and even a tendency to escape.
So, this Diwali don’t just focus on the shopping but be sensitive to your pet. Here are five tips to help your dog stay calm during Diwali.
1. Finish the walk
Take your dog on a long walk well before the festivities start. Crackers and lights usually start after dark, so be sure to bring your dog back in by then. With their exercise, play, walk and potty run over, they will be more relaxed. Once home, give your dog a proper meal. Now, your exhausted dog with a full stomach will be less anxious and ready for a snooze.
2. Diwali-proof a room
Pick one room and heavily curtain it and close all windows to keep the sound and lights of Diwali out. This should also help to keep the smoke and pollution at bay. Play some music, or use ear muffs and nose masks. Pad the floor with blankets and cushions to minimise vibrations. Keep plenty of snacks, water, your dog’s favourite toys and a first-aid kit handy. Your dog is now ready to ‘camp in’ during the noisy night. NOTE: Do not lock your dog in or leave them alone, as it will only increase their stress.
3. Work on a tag
Loud noises create an instinct of flight in dogs. Make your dog an identification collar tag with complete contact information so that even if they manage to escape, their safe return is assured. Keep a close eye on your pooch, be calm yourself, and try to engage him normally. Reward a relaxed and calm behaviour in your dog.
4. Let them hide
Dogs usually tend to back away and hide to escape the booms and blasts. If your pet is scared, don’t try to persuade them to give up the nooks, corners, and undersides.
Neither scold them for showing a fearful behaviour. If possible, make them comfortable in their hideouts with toys and cushions.
5. Keep the goodies away
Stress in dogs often leads to stomach problems, so keep all sweets and fried savouries far from reach. Also, keep candles, earthen lamps, crackers, etc. far from dogs so that accidental sniffs or licks don’t cause toxicity problems.
If you are concerned about your dog’s first Diwali then opt for a vacation and kick off some human as well as doggy stress. On the other end, spare a thought for the strays on the street too. Give them access to basement, parking areas or balconies. Keep animal shelter emergency numbers handy and also consult your vet on sedative and anti-anxiety meds. A little prep can go a long way. Diwali is a time for family bonding; include your dog in this and have a great festival.