Tips for a safe festival for your four-legged friend

Festive season is now so near and Diwali is just round the corner. As a guardian you should not forget the needs of your companion who takes care of you so well. Oh yes, I am talking about the dear member of your family- your dog! Festivals bring in a lot of joy and celebration. In the midst of all these pomp and show, we sometimes forget about the safety of our canine friends, which becomes all the more important during this time.

As you are aware, dogs hear so well. They can differentiate between the noises of engines of two cars of same make and prick their ears when their master’s car arrives – a feat impossible for most of us. They can hear about 40 times better than us.

So now we know, our canine friends can hear the noises or sounds beyond our capacity and have a very wide spectrum of hearing. They can be greatly startled by the noise of crackers burnt long distance away. We all should behave responsibly and avoid the noisy crackers completely.

Festival fears

What disturbs our pets mostly is the loud music. As common sense prevails what troubles humans is hell for pets. There are loudspeakers everywhere during festive season, which contribute to the heavy sound pollution. These are the circumstances that need to be controlled. I have seen cases of dogs hiding as noise levels become higher and that is very traumatic for them. Dogs tend to stay away from their homes when frightened, hence, it becomes important to ensure they are safe and secure.

Some dogs can get very nervous and try to chew on things or bite people or even their owners on the slightest provocation during such times. I have also encountered cases of dogs attacking live crackers trying to take them in their mouth, biting the crackers and getting burnt in the process. Always remember that crackers can cause fear, aggression or mental depression in dogs, so keep your pet monitored at all times.

I even came across a case where a puppy chewed on the ornaments kept in front of deity during worship and ‘ate’ them. The guardians of the dogs could not understand where the ornaments disappeared until I suggested having the puppy X-rayed. So be careful on this issue as well.

Feeding during festivals

Other important precautions during festive season would be regarding feeding of dogs:

  • Do not give sweets or fried, spicy foodstuff to dogs as it can upset their stomach.
  • Do not shift from normal feeding practices.
  • Do not keep sweets in the box open as your lil’ one can eat the whole lot and get sick.

Various treatments advised:

Homoeopathic :

  • Phosphorus?: Use when the dog is easily startled by noise and leaps suddenly when you drop something.
  • Borax?: Use when the dog startles greatly even if the noise is a long distance away.
  • Aconite?: Main fear remedy. Use when responses are rapid and violent. Use doses in low potency- 3x, 6x, 3c, or 6c.

Ayurvedic: Mentat syrup (Himalaya drugs) or Anxocare syrup (veterinary formulation) 1tspfull three times a day or a tab each of medicines mentioned above is recommended as a behaviour modifier, anxiolytic and mood elevator.

Allopathic: These are very potent and should be used under a veterinarian’s guidance only. (Dr. Vinay S. Gorhe, MVSc (medicine), is educated at Bombay Veterinary College. He is a university gold medallist and has worked as an officer-in-charge of Peshwe Zoo of Pune city. He runs a full time clinic for companion animals in Kothrud, Pune. He has visited many countries in connection with wildlife medicine and companion animal medicine over the last 20 years. He can be contacted at Ph: 020 – 25411216, 09822015318, e-mail: vinaygorhe@hotmail.com)

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