Yes, your happy go lucky pet could be trembling shaking and barking more during fireworks at Diwali at your home.
All these and more are the signs that clearly communicate that your dog could well be scared during the fireworks.
Signs of stress or fear may include shaking, trembling, barking, howling, excessive drooling or hiding when fireworks are being let off.
The best way to prevent there problems
Make sure that your dog is well socialized as a puppy. Allowing him to hear lots of different sounds and have lots of different experiences, always in a positive way. This will help to prevent the problem in the first place. However, some dogs will still develop fears of fireworks and so it is up to their owners to ensure they do everything they can to make their dog feel safe and secure when fireworks are being let off.
However, with Diwali not far away there is not really time to help solve problems related to fear of fireworks as treatment programmers require lots of time and patience and may take many months to effectively complete. There are a number of things you can do to help your dog cope with fireworks going off and minimize how scary the situation may be to him
Deepawali / fireworks during celebrations / parties is a crucial time when our pets get a bit confused with the sound and light changes happening in the surroundings.
As we make our kids understand the new activities around them, same goes with our pets also. We need to help our pets to be comfortable with these changes and get rid of their fear”.
Here are few tips to help your dog cope with fireworks:
- Take your dog for a good walk during the day before fireworks start being let off.
- Keep your dog inside when fireworks are going off. Never walk him or leave him outside when fireworks are going off.
- Keep windows shut and curtains drawn to mask sounds and flashes from fireworks.
- Turn up the volume on the television or radio to help mask the sounds of fireworks.
- Keep your dog distracted by playing with him or giving treats like Pedigree or Dentastix.
- Do not comfort your dog if he is showing fearful behavior as this may actually reinforce the behavior. Act normally, as if there is nothing at all to be afraid of and reward your dog when he is calm and not looking afraid.
- Never punish your dog in any way for being afraid.
- Provide your dog with a suitable safe place where he can hide and do not disturb him when he goes into this area.
Some do’s to take care of your lovely pooches post Diwali:
- Once you get past Diwali it is a good idea to start thinking about desensitizing your dog to fireworks so that he can cope better the next time. Desensitization programs will not just work overnight and require lots of time and patience to be effective.
- You can buy CDs or tapes of fireworks sounds to help with this. These should initially be played at a very low volume so you can barely hear them.
- While playing the sounds give your dog something enjoyable such as his Pedigree food, a treat or simply play with him. Repeat this for short periods several times per day.
- As long as your dog shows no negative reactions you can very gradually increase the volume over progressive sessions. With time your dog should stop associating the sounds with something scary and will begin to associate them with pleasant experiences such as eating.
- It may help in more serious cases to seek expert advice to help deal with these problems. The best way to find help is to ask you vet who can then give you an individual treatment program tailored to you and your dog.
- In extreme cases your vet may suggest prescribing drug treatment to help your dog cope with his fear of fireworks.
- Remember, drug treatment should only be used with veterinary advice. However, this is just a temporary solution and will not actually cure the problem. It is important to seek expert advice to help desensitize your dog to the sound of fireworks.
The article has been written by Dr Kallahalli Umesh; Waltham Scientific Communication Manager, South Asia Mars India.