Did you know a dog’s hearing ability is almost seven times that of a human?
Now imagine their plight during Diwali when loud firecrackers would go off constantly and without warning! Not surprisingly, this is the time when many pets and even street dogs go missing trying to find a safe place to hide.
This sparkling festival of lights and happiness can easily turn into a time of tremendous stress and horror for our furry friends. Alleviating their suffering at this time of the year should be one of our key priorities as pet parents and dog/animal lovers.
Here are some basic tips to help you to be more mindful and careful about your pet’s needs during this difficult period for them.
But first – are all dogs/cats scared of fireworks? No! Some dogs show absolutely no signs of discomfort or stress. It's important for you to be cognizant of your pet's behaviour to identify any signs of stress or discomfort.
How do you know if your pet is frightened of firecrackers?
You may already know the signs very well but in case of any doubts, if your pet is panting or pacing more than usual, or is trying to slip into covered hideouts, it’s quite likely your pet is unable to process the noise from crackers and is highly stressed.
- Alter your evening ritual; walk your dog/s earlier than their usual walking time to ensure they are not outside at the time of maximum activity on the streets
- Feed your dog/s and cat/s a nutritious meal earlier than their usual feeding time as they may not eat due to loud noises later in the evening
- Keep your windows and doors shut to ensure your pet doesn’t try to escape
- Create a ‘comfort corner’ or a den for your pet, preferably away from any windows or doors. Many pets seek comfort under tables/chairs/beds etc. Don’t try to move them unless it’s unsafe for them, instead make it more accessible and comfortable by providing a mat/blanket/pillow and their favourite toy. Essential oils may also help relax your pet - you can consider diffusing Lavender essential oil, a proven relaxant and de-stressor, from when the noise begins.
- Try playing some soothing music in their room to minimize the outside noise (YouTube for recommendations)
- Keep your pet strictly indoors when the fireworks are in full swing
- Get an ID tag for your pet if you haven’t already, to prepare for the worst
- Invest in earmuffs for your pet or create your own DIY version if your pet gets extremely anxious around this time
- Continue to give him/her reassurance and comfort if they come to seek it from you
- Lookout for stray dogs and cats in your locality. You can help them by providing food, water and if possible, shelter for a day or two.
- If this is your pet’s first Diwali, try and not make a big deal of out every loud noise. Don’t respond to the noise and behave normally to establish a more relaxed atmosphere. Your pup/kitten may get more stressed if you respond and react to every sound frequency coming from outside
- Don’t push your pet to go outside or reprimand her/him for her/his behaviour
- Don’t leave your nervous pet around strangers or kids unattended as it may lead to accidents
- Don’t leave your pet alone for too long and keep looking for signs of abnormal behaviour
- Don’t stay quiet if you witness any animal cruelty. You can intervene and help the animal, if possible and safe, or approach animal welfare organisations and rescue workers in your locality
Do you have any effective tips that we have missed out here? Please share in the comments below!