This year, celebrate a Dog Friendly Diwali

By:  Yash Guwalani

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The sounds of crackers upsets your furry family members; they have a level of hearing which is much more sensitive than that of humans. This means every cracker that bursts, and millions get bursted every year, sounds earth-shattering to them. Often, they get nervous, frightened and scared to their bones. This makes them panic and they try to escape. This leads to many of these innocent mammals going missing and some owners are never able to get them back.

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The condition of homeless dogs is even worse. The smoke and noise on the streets traumatise them and they go into hiding. They get so scared that they come out only after the celebrations are over. This makes them hungry, they can’t find food and they have to do this for days. Younger street dogs often die because of these conditions. While those who get through this all this trauma, are often injured and they are never treated as they are ownerless.

 

“A dog reacts to noise as a direct reflection of his human companion. If you show fear or act nervous during a loud noise, your dog will pick up on your signals and learn that loud noises are to be feared. Do not praise your dog when he shows fear of loud noises. If you do, you are not only praising him for being frightened, but you are making it more likely that he will be frightened the next time a loud noise happens. Many well-meaning dog owners increase their dog's anxiety by stroking, cuddling, and saying "It's OK" when their dogs act nervous. Instead, spend some time with your dog being fun and playful. Distract him from the noise”. Says Shirin Merchant, India’s leading canine behaviour counsellor.

You should try to keep your pet calm as much as possible. “Dogs instinctively seek out confined spaces when frightened. If your dog hides under the bed or behind a cupboard, don’t drag him out in an attempt to comfort him. Instead, put some clothing or towels with your familiar scent next to him for reassurance. Play soothing music relatively loud to help drown out the fear-producing noise”.

Here are some tips to ensure that your animal as well as the street dogs are safe during the festive time:

  • First of all, say no to crackers and insist others too. This not only helps you celebrate a dog friendly Diwali but also an environment friendly Diwali.

  • Taking your dog out for a walk before the fireworks begin is a really nice idea.

  • Ensure that you’re always around your doggo. Your company, in fact just your smell is enough to keep your pet calm.

  • Keep giving your dog his favorite treats and make sure that he is never hungry or thirsty.

  • Get an ear muff for your pooch.

  • Try to give shelter to street dogs in your garden or terrace or wherever it is possible.

  • Lamps/Diyas/Candles should be kept out of your pet’s reach to avoid any accidents.

  • Ensure that your dog is wearing an identification tag with your contact information.

The truth is no matter how many tips I give you, the most important one is to promote a no cracker Diwali.

Don’t buy crackers! Don’t burn your money! Don’t hurt your or other's pets.

Celebrate this festival in a way that it seems like a festival for all the living beings. Just because dogs aren’t humans, it doesn’t means they don’t have a life.  

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