We know Diwali can be hard on our dogs, and not just because of the continuous loud sounds of firecrackers. So, we’ve put together the five best ways to help them cope with the festival.
1. Keep an eye on them
A lot of pets run away on Diwali than any other day due to anxiety and being scared. You should take extra steps to ensure their safety. Keep a keen eye on your dog during the commotion, and make sure your pet is wearing proper identification. Dog Expert, Caesar Milan says, “Remember, to your dog, the experience of fireworks is different than other natural loud noises, like thunder. Fireworks are closer to the ground, more vibrant, and are accompanied by sudden booms, flashes and burning smells.”
2. Don’t physically force your dog to come out of hiding
If your dog decides to hide under a sofa, bed or behind a cupboard, let him be. Don’t try to physically force him to come out by dragging him in an attempt to comfort him. Just draw the curtains, play their favourite or some form of soothing music or turn the TV on to drown the loud noises.
3. Stick to their regular diet
Sudden excitement can cause stomach upsets or even trigger pre-existing dormant illnesses. It’s important to keep dogs secluded. Sweets, crunchy dry fruits, delectable chocolates and the varied far sans are harmful to your dog. Rich gravies and buttery sauces can cause severe gastrointestinal distress in them. Stick to the regular diet.
4. Tire your dog out
It is essential to expend your dog’s energy first, before the start of Diwali fireworks. Take them on a long walk early in the evening or play with them for a good amount of time. This will tire them out and help them stay in a calm state.
5. Be calm and show less concern for the fireworks yourself
When in doubt, a dog will look to its pack leader for a reaction. It picks up the parent’s signals and will perceive a situation as threatening or normal. The first thing we want to do when we see our pet frightened is to comfort it. Experts say this can worsen the problem. Your dog may misconstrue your behaviour as praise, encouraging it to be frightened at the loud noise. Instead, distract your dog from noise by playing games and praising any happy and relaxed behaviour.
6. Bonus Tip – Make your dog a Thundershirt
A thundershirt is designed to provide a calming effect when your dog experiences fear or general or separation anxiety. If you do find it necessary to use thundershirt to calm your dog during the fireworks, remember that you must introduce it at the right time. This means that you must bring your dog to that calm state first, then introduce the tool — before the fireworks and the anxiety begin. Here’s how to make your own, simple DIY Thundershirt.
“Most importantly, don’t think of this in terms of your dog as your child who is missing out on a great, fun time. That’s human guilt. Your dog won’t know what she’s missing. You’re being a good pack leader by not exposing her to a situation that will trigger her flight instinct in a negative way. When the booms and bangs of Independence Day are over, your dog will be grateful to you for having made it a less stressful experience!” – Caesar.
Wishing you a very Happy Diwali. Share this with as many dog parents as possible to ensure the safety and well-being of their dogs during the festive season.