How to Care for Pets and Strays This Diwali
Your happy-go-lucky pet could be trembling, shaking and barking more during the coming Diwali celebrations this year. Unfortunately, in all the Indian festivities, people ignore the change in behaviour in pets and other animals around. It is important to understand that dogs and cats have stronger hearing powers than human beings, making them vulnerable to a host of anxieties, fears and health ailments because of what humans call 'festive' and 'fun.' So what we perceive to be loud is even louder and unbearable for animals. In addition, dogs are also sensitive to vibrations caused by loud noises. Therefore, one needs to take extra care...
The best way to prevent problems for pets
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 programmes require lots of time and patience and may take many months to effectively complete. There are a number of things you can do to help your dog cope with fireworks going off and minimise 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.”
Tips to help your pet cope with fireworks
- Take your dog for a good walk during the day before fireworks start being let off
- Keep your dog and cat inside when fireworks are going off. Never walk them or leave them 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 and cat distracted by playing with them or giving treats.
- Do not comfort your dog/cat if he/she 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 pet when they are calm and not looking afraid.
- Never punish your pet in any way for being afraid
- Provide your pet 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
- Some people force their pets to be close to the sounds that are frightening. Don’t do that as you will only end up frightening your pet even more. In an attempt to leave the situation, the pet will become aggressive
Care for the Strays too!
Not everyone has a blast during Diwali. For those thousands of stray dogs on the streets of India, it's no less than an apocalypse. The atrocities kids and young boys subject them to for their own 'fun' leaves them burned, grievously injured and sometimes limbless.This Diwali follow these tips to keep the strays around you safe:
- Do not tease them by tying crackers in their tails. If you see anyone doing this, make them STOP
- Do not let anyone throw lit crackers on/at them.
- Make sure that whoever is about to light a cracker, first lets the stray animals move safely away either through coaxing or gentle talk. Startled and induced with fear, they may run into the traffic and get injured.
- Bring to the notice of local/concern authorities, in case you find an injured animal in your locality or on the road.
- Help any animals on the road into your garden or garage and give them food and water.
- Volunteer with a shelter home for stray animals and help them with any emergencies.
- Burst crackers in a limited and a centralized location so that animals can be restricted or kept away from the place during the fireworks.
*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images