Pawsome Festivities!

While India reels in the spirit of Diwali this October, US enjoys the much-awaited Halloween at the same time…the joy is infectious… in fact, you can even find people celebrating Halloween here! The preparations have begun and all of us look for brighter festivals every year. But, festivals are a trying time for our pooches…this time…again, let’s make it an enjoyable time for them as well.

What does festival mean to us – happiness, celebration, lights, goodies, new clothes, delicious delicacies, etc. But crackers have also become a part of the celebration. These crackers are harmful to both humans as well as canines. Just think of the air and noise pollutions these crackers emit! While we can hear just about 20,000 Hz of the sound, our dogs have the unique capability to hear approximately 20 to 40,000 Hz and the sound of a firecracker or even a vacuum is greatly intensified to their ears. So, here’s how you can make festivals an enjoyable time and not a pain for your pooch:
Socialising…right from pup: The benefits of socialising your dogs go a long way. Exposure to various places, people and sounds help them feel comfortable in different situations. However, your pooch may develop fear of firework and you are the one who can help them cope up with that stress.
Coping with frantic frenzy at home: We all love to socialise during festivals…we visit our friends and relatives and welcome them at our homes too. All this can disturb your pooch, he may shy away or get excited on seeing so many people. So, keep him in a place with little or no disturbance. Designate a place for him where he can retire if he feels uncomfortable or snappy.
Take care of his meals: Festivals take a toll on us – we are busy with decorations, special menu, dressing up for the occasion, etc – but we should always maintain the feeding schedule of our pooch.
Time out – important too: Do not forget to take your pooch out for his nature’s calls at fixed times. Whatever busy you are, take a break…put your pooch on a leash and dash out for a breather…for you as well as him.
Don’t forget exercises: Your pooch needs his daily dose of exercise…he wants to use the pent up energy. Unless you want your pooch to act like a spoilt brat, give him the exercise he needs.
No to delicacies: Your pooch’s stomach is not fit for the delicacies and sweets we enjoy. Feed him dog foods only… of course, you can add some flavour to his food…but within the range of foods he can eat.
Desensitise your pooch to sounds: Though this takes a lot of time and patience, it is extremely beneficial for your pooch. Before the festival time, try playing the sounds of crackers on a CD player…of course keep the volume low in the beginning. Give him a treat or play with him…just act normally. Gradually, increase the volume to desensitise him with this sound.
Coping with fireworks: Keep your dog indoors when fireworks are going off. Shut the windows and doors to mask sounds. Play a soothing music to mask the sounds further. Play with him and give him a treat he enjoys. Simply distract him from all the sounds he’s hearing outside.
Keep decorations at bay: While it is a good idea to decorate your house, just take care that they are beyond your pooch’s reach. You never know when this curious baby would want to touch and taste the new thing.
Candles and diyas – keep them at a height: What’s Diwali without candles and diyas? Just remember to keep them at a height, where your pet can’t reach them.
Compassion for strays: Stray dogs are badly affected with firecrackers. Sometimes, children even use them to scare them away. Spread awareness about the harmful effects of firecrackers and banish your neighbours from using them. After all, Diwali is a festival of lights, who talked about noise?
Accidents happen: In case any accident happens, keep your vet’s phone number handy. Call him immediately.
Happy safe Diwali!