It is a nightmare for pets and strays –you will find them shivering and crouched in a dark corner where they feel safe. Not all dogs are afraid of fireworks-for example hunting dogs get used to the sound and smell of rifles being fired, but most dogs are afraid as this triggers off their nervous system making them anxious.
Yes, your happy- go-lucky pet could be trembling shaking and barking more during the coming Diwali celebrations at your home. The sad part is that sometimes we don’t even care to give a thought to their suffering. However, it is important to understand that dogs and cats have stronger hearing power. So what we perceive to be loud is even louder and unbearable for the pets. In addition, dogs are also sensitive to vibrations caused by loud noises. Therefore, one needs to take extra care of pets during Diwali season.
Signs of stress or fear may include shaking, trembling, barking, howling, excessive drooling or hiding when fireworks are being let off.
The best way to prevent problems
Make sure that your dog is well socialised as a puppy, allowing him to hear lots of different sounds and have lots of different experiences, always in a positive way. This will help to prevent the problem in the first place. However, some dogs will still develop fears of fireworks and so it is up to their owners to ensure they do everything they can to make their dog feel safe and secure when fireworks are being let off.
However, with Diwali just round the corner there is hardly any time to help solve problems related to fear of fireworks as treatment or training programs require lots of time and patience and may take many months to complete. There are a number of things you can do to help your dog cope with fireworks going off and minimize how scary the situation may be to him.
According to Dr. Kallahalli Umesh, Waltham Scientific Communication Manager, South Asia, Mars India, “Diwali is a crucial time when our pets get a bit confused with the sound and light changes happening in the surroundings. As we make our kids understand the new activities around them, same goes with our pets also. We need to help our pets to be comfortable with these changes and get rid of their fear”.
10 tips that could be helpful to prevent panic
- Take your dog for a good walk during the day before fireworks start being let off
- Keep your dog inside when fireworks are going off. Never walk him or leave him outside when fireworks are going off
- Keep windows shut and curtains drawn to mask sounds and flashes from fireworks
- Turn up the volume on the television or radio to help mask the sounds of fireworks
- Keep your dog distracted by playing with him or giving treats
- Do not comfort your dog if he is showing fearful behavior as this may actually reinforce the behavior. Act normally, as if there is nothing at all to be afraid of and reward your dog when he is calm and not looking afraid
- Never punish your dog in any way for being afraid
- Provide your dog with a suitable safe place where he can hide and do not disturb him when he goes into this area
- If your pet is extremely sensitive to noise then slowly accustom him to have cotton in the ears. Prefer using natural therapy to calm your dog. Bach flower extracts and lavender oil are helpful in milder case
- Some people force their pets to be close to the sounds that are frightening. Don’t do that– you will only end up frightening your pet even more. In an attempt to leave the situation the pet will become aggressive.
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