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Crackers!!! Too noisy…for pets

It’s festival time and the most dreaded time for animals. If given a choice, all the animals, mainly dogs and horses, would like to migrate out of India during this time. Dr. Milind Hatekar gives some guidelines to help your pets through difficult time.

Festivals are so often

celebrated with crackers and loud speakers without considering what animals go through. Dogs are most sensitive to sounds at frequencies from 500 Hz to 16 kHz as compared to human hearing 1000- 5000 cycles per second. Just to simplify, dogs are 40 times more sensitive to sounds than human hearing. So if a small cracker is lit in front of a dog, you can imagine how bad can that be for his hearing. Being so sensitive to different types of sounds, they can sense the geologic activity of earth even before the earthquake actually happens.

Effect of crackers on pet behaviour

High resonant sound causes mental depression and fear in animals. A change in mental behaviour is seen in dogs and less seen in cats. Dogs tend to hide in corner or go under the bed and may get aggressive when approached by the owner. Some pets seek shelter in arms of owner and exhibit over-friendliness due to feeling of insecurity. Non-stop shivering is one of the signs of fear. Dogs kept outside the house have a tough time in dealing with cracker-induced anxiety; they initially will hide in bushes or in kennel. Once the fear is over, they will start barking continuously and start chasing moving vehicles.

Some guidelines to help pets

De-sensitising

Dogs trained by police and army are initially exposed to low frequency noises, right from the puppyhood and are gradually exposed to sound at high frequency of gun fire and explosions. This shows a marked difference in level of behaviour in dogs, they get de-sensitised and do not fear explosions. Dogs staying near an airport also show similar behaviour. Continuous exposure to aircraft noises does not make any difference in behaviour and such dogs do not go in mental depression when crackers burst. So if you stay in area where noisy crackers can’t be avoided, start working from puppyhood or gradually introduce your pet to low frequency taped noisy sounds.

Pre-festival preparations

If your pet is claustrophobic, then one should make extra arrangements to lessen down sufferings of pets. Choose a room that is calm and quite in the house as a temporary house for your pet, mainly in the evenings. Visit his room frequently and convince the pet that you are around and give chews and toys of his choice. Best is to make a sound-proof kennel if your dog is housed outside. If you have a farmhouse away from city, it will be a heaven for your pet.

Educating children

Audio visual aid should be made and shown in schools to educate students not to burst noisy crackers as it adds to sound and air pollution. They have deleterious effect on human and animal hearing. Societies should request everybody to burst crackers in open ground as sound disseminates faster in open ground and does not produce reverberations/echo. Encourage children to buy crackers that make light showers.

Natural remedies

Bauch flower rescue remedies work near to perfect. Two drops should be applied on skin of forehead of the dog, and two drops can be given orally. Syrup called “Mentat“ can be used twice a day. Borax 3 X one tablet three times a day is an excellent homoeopathic remedy; though you need to start it in advance. Phosphorus 200X should be given as one dose on each noisy day. Arsenic album 30x will help to overcome loneliness.

Allopathic treatment

All medicines should be used under strict veterinary supervision. Acepromazine works best as it has prolonged sedative effect on dogs and should be used only in healthy dogs. Dogs with heart ailments should not be administered this drug. Anti-anxiety drugs used in human medicine also do work in combination.

Keeping these things in mind, you can make festivals a fun time for your pets as well.

(Dr. Hatekar is a practicing veterinary surgeon in Pune .He has been trained in Germany and France for small animal orthopedic surgery and also writes for The Times of India, Indian Express and for The Deccan Herald. He is member of World Small Animal Veterinary Association and can be contacted at?: 020-254263352/ 09823288110, e-mail: petaid1@yahoo.com)