Man’s best friend and Diwali

Diwali is just around the corner. While most of us are excited to take part in the festivities, there is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately- the safety of dogs during Diwali. Both domesticated and street dogs suffer during this festival. Tune in to Radio Active and listen to Rajeshwari, a canine behaviourist and trainer shares some practices which help to keep our dogs safe during Diwali.

Bursting crackers is fun but it can be a traumatic experience for a dog. “Dogs also have a fight or flight instinct like man. If it gets scared of the sounds, it will either run away far from the crackers or it will try to engage in a fight with it, which can be harmful for the dog.Also, they are very sensitive to sound. Their hearing power is ten times that of a human. Keeping them away from the source of noise is very effective”. She suggests that the best way to do that is to take a vacation with your dog during Diwali. But it is not plausible for most dog owners. So certain precautions can be taken instead. “Dogs have a way of generalizing situations. It can start relating their fear of crackers with their food, their home or even their owners. To avoid this, the owner should ensure that the dog is fed in the morning when there is no noise so that even if it doesn’t eat at night it won’t go hungry all day. Another effective method is de-sensitization. This can only be done by professionals and should be done a few days before Diwali. We expose the dog to the sound of crackers but in a controlled environment. This way they stop being afraid of the sound”. Some other ways to help the dogs is to create “white noise” in the house, which means keeping the television, music system etc. on so that the sound of crackers in buffered out. “But the most important thing to do is to not feed into the dog’s fear. The owners should not show their anxiety or the dog starts believing that there is actual danger outside”.
But our pets aren’t the only ones who face this problem. Even street dogs are victims as they have no place to hide. Rajeshwari suggests that if possible, take in a street dog for the day so that it has shelter and can cope with the situation. “If possible, make your neighbours understand that crackers should only be burst in the evening to make it predictable. This way the dogs will be safe for the rest of the day”.

Diwali is one of the most celebrated festivals in India, but it can be dangerous for dogs. More dogs go missing during Diwali than in other time of the year. Let them also enjoy the day by following these few rules. By telling our friends and family about this problem, we are helping our own dogs as well as the street dogs. This Diwali lets take care of man’s best friend.
RJ Pavithra ( Transcribed by Indrani Bharadwaj

# Animal Instincts every Saturday and Sunday 12.00 to 12.30 pm

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