When we think of "Diwali”, we immediately think of colorful lanterns, lights in every window, rangolis outside your door, tasty sweets, and also firecrackers. While some may enjoy these firecrackers, most of our furry friends don’t. The loud sounds and burning smells overwhelm some pets, making them quiver fearfully and behave in a restless manner. The smoke that they inhale can also adversely affect their health. Here is how we can make our pet’s diwali stress and anxiety free.
Here’s how you can help keep your pet calm during Diwali-
Altering walk timings: Dogs are probably the most calm when they are on a walk. They enjoy venturing out into the outside world, exploring different scents, and running to their heart's content. However, during Diwali, late evening walks can be stressful for pets as that is usually when people burst firecrackers. The loud noises may trigger your dog’s anxiety and cause him to run away therefore it’s best to avoid walks at this time. Taking your dog down a couple of hours before sunset might help reduce their exposure to the loud sounds. Giving them sufficient exercise prior to sunset might also help ease their anxiety later in the evening.
Serene environment: Creating a peaceful environment at home can help keep your pet calm, especially during diwali. It may not be possible to drown out all the sounds of firecrackers but minimizing the noises may help your pet cope better. You could shut all the windows/ doors and draw the curtains to minimize the amount of light and sound that can penetrate. Help your pet find a cozy, secure corner of the house for them to retreat while the firecrackers are bursting outside. Do not disturb them or force them to come out when they are inside their safe place.
Distractions: There are multiple ways to distract your anxious pet when the fireworks are setting them off. For example:-
Ear muff: You could also consider investing in ear muffs for pets that help to block out the sounds from the firecrackers. These ear muffs could be used to help reduce your pet’s anxiety in various situations such as Diwali, but also at weddings, thunderstorms, traffic, etc. Ear muff would be especially beneficial to the extra sensitive pets who are at flight risk.
Anti-anxiety medications: There are some pets whose fear of loud noises can’t be minimized by distractions. These pets need medical help to overcome their fear and anxiety. Many vets prescribe anti-anxiety medications that help to alleviate their fear of loud noises. If your pet’s reaction to firecrackers bursting or any loud sounds is extreme, it is advisable to consult a vet and consider some medications to help your pet.
- Turning on the television or playing some music at home might help distract pets from the loud sounds. The volume could be adjusted so as to suppress the noises outside.
- Engage your pet in some fun playtime. Games such as ‘throw and catch’, puzzle games, ‘tug of war’, and much more help remind your pet of your love and presence when they are feeling anxious. You could even use this opportunity to teach your pet some new tricks or create an obstacle course to keep your pet engaged. These games may even tire your pet out, encouraging them to sleep despite the noises outside.
- You can also distract your pet with treat-based games that will keep them focused on getting the treat and forgetting about the fireworks.
When pets are dealing with anxiety, you are their main source of comfort and protection. Showering them with unconditional love at such times helps them cope with challenging and stressful situations such as festive times. We hope these strategies help you address your pet’s anxieties. We wish you and your family a very happy Diwali and hope that this festival is enjoyable for both you and your furry baby!