October and November is the month of festivals in India. November is the month of Diwali, and Diwali is the scariest festival for our miserable friends with sensitive ears; cats or dogs. After seeing my first pet dog shivering for the loud cracker’s noise, I quit bursting crackers. It is hard to make the thick headed crowd understand the pain the animals go through, plus the air pollution. I did some research on how to calm down a dog during fireworks and most of the tips work.
After petting 3 generation of dogs I would like to share some tips which might help you in case you want to relax your pets for loud noise like crackers or thunderstorm.
Tips on how to calm down a dog during fireworks
- Train early – It is always best to get your pet used to the loud noise at an early age, like when it is a pup or kitten. I realized this only after I accidentally discovered that both my dogs are not scared of fireworks or thunderstorm. When they were puppies, they used to run outside barking at the sound of fireworks or thunderstorm. I used to encourage my dogs, and treat them. I encouraged them just for fun. This has helped them overcome the fear, and this is the month of Diwali and both my dogs are now lying down near me in deep sleep when I am typing this post. This training will help any animal with sensitive ears.
- Play a game – Try distracting your pet with its favorite game. In my case my dogs love playing fetch. I had written a brief post on how to teach your dog fetch. Try playing any game which it loves, could be a tug of war or hide and seek, anything which makes him forget the noise. This usually works if the pet is hyperactive.
- Pamper – Dogs and cats both love being loved. They count on you when there is a sense of danger; so don’t just walk away. Be there to help your pet of its misery. Speak softly, touch him, feel the heartbeat to know if it is helping. You could also make your pet lie on your lap or shoulder. Pets are just like kids, they need attention and communication. Your pet might not understand your language, but it does understand that you love him/her and understand his problem.
- Treats – During this phase most dogs/cats miss out on food, but less likely they will ignore their dog treats. The next time when there is a Diwali/firecrackers/thunderstorm, keep the treat in hand. Once this becomes a habit, your pet will gradually realize that loud noise is equivalent to their favorite treat. This takes some time for your pet to get used to.
- Hiding – Get your pet used to sleep in his crate/couch. Dogs generally tend to hide when scared. Crate gives them a sense of comfort. So if you notice it, then let your pet be as it is and don’t drag him out. Give him time to calm down.
- Outing – This is a perfect solution provided you have the time to take your pet out. Take your pet for a long drive far from noise. You also will get a nice break and your pet will be freed from misery. Use this as a backup only when everything fails and you cannot see your pet struggle.
- Music – Play some nice soothing music such that the music can override the loud noise coming from outside. As far as your neighbors will not complain, this should definitely help.
I hope some of these simple tips will be of some help. If you feel you have better tips, please feel free to share in the comments section.