The festive season, especially Diwali times can be difficult for dogs. While this year people are expecting a more subdued celebration due to the ongoing pandemic, one can never be sure. As a pattern, the festive season witnesses an increase in holiday-related emergencies, including fall injuries as a result of pets jumping from balconies, accidental injuries as animals attempt to escape noises from crackers and get hit by vehicles, burns, and wounds from fire and firecrackers, and cases of severe anxiety.
Additionally, the number of pets that run away or get lost increases many folds during this time. Hence, it becomes important that as pet parent/s, one prepares for the onset of the festive season, so that one can decrease the chance of pet injury or panic.
Enclosed are 6 things pet parents can do to help pets stay calm and prevent injury:
Keep your dog indoors: The best place to keep your pet is indoors. Make sure they are comfortable and do not have a way to escape, in case of sudden anxiety attacks. Additionally, make sure there is a ‘safe zone’ for the pet created to help them feel at ease. Some pets tend to hide in bathrooms or find safe zones like the bottom of shelves or cupboard corners. If they do so, let them stay there and provide comfortable bedding for them to relax.
DO NOT FORGET THE STREET ANIMALS. People can be unkind to animals and there have been cases where animals have been deliberately hurt or burned during this season. Be extra watchful of your street animals and if possible keep them safe by allowing them inside your house.
Give them enough physical exercise: Exercising is a brilliant way to help with your pet’s nervous energy. A long walk would ensure that your dog is tired and calmer. Try to take your pet out for an extended exercise session before the festivities begin so that they do not encounter anything or anyone that might cause discomfort to them.
Feed them well: Check the pet’s water bowls and make sure they are fed well before the festivities begin. An empty stomach can make for an uneasy dog. Also, feed your street dogs well in advance, so that they can try and find shelter and are not scavenging for food during this time.
Use music to distract: There are a lot of relaxing sounds and music compositions available online for pets. One can use these to help distract pets from loud noises and the sound of sudden bursts of firecrackers. If your pet is used to television sounds, just increase the volume of your television but do make sure there are no shows or movies that can aggravate the uneasiness with loud bangs or explosion sounds.
Side tip: Many pet parents swear by white noise or sound music to create a relaxed environment for their pets.
Ensure a collar tag for your dogs and street animals: Making your pet wear a nametag with your contact details is a smart move. Sometimes pets can run away due to all the chaos, and a collar tag can come in handy for someone who finds them. For the street dogs, make them wear simple collars with your contact details for a day or two to help them be rescued and located, in case they get lost.
Vet on call: Get the details of your vets, and consult with them before the festival time sets in. Since a lot of people are on holiday during this season, it is crucial to request your vets for their numbers in case of emergencies.
Everyone loves the festival of light, and with a little care and preparation, you can ensure that your pet is stress-free and comfortable to enjoy it with you. Let’s work together to ensure that this Diwali season is less traumatic for animals in general by not bursting crackers and simply choosing a quieter way to celebrate.
Happy festivals to you!
About the Author
Vidhi Malla is the founder of ‘Pawtales’, a pet homestay and is training to be an animal behaviorist. Vidhi has had pets since childhood and has been working for the welfare of animals; especially dogs for over two decades. She has worked with prestigious organizations like Federation of Anima Protection Organisation and Humane Society International/India, around animal cruelty and policy issues, and is an active volunteer with various NGOs and shelters. She takes care of 9 Indian pariah dogs in addition to being a pet-parent to 4 beautiful paw-children.