Diwali – The festival of lights

Help your dog to survive Diwali – the festival of lights and fireworks

Being one of the most important festivals in Indian culture, the celebration of the Festival of Lights, or Diwali, sees thousands of people in the UK attend celebratory events, prayers and firework displays every autumn. This year, the events will take place on Sunday 30 October 2016, when houses are decorated with colourful lights and candles, and fireworks will be set alight.

While they’re great fun for humans, fireworks can be really scary for your dog. The unexpected, loud bangs and explosions from fireworks can cause anxiety and stress for a great number of dogs. Before Diwali rolls around, here are several pointers that you should take note of, and what you can do to help your anxious dog.

Keeping your dog safe

It’s quite normal for your dog to be startled and scared around fireworks. Your pet has very keen senses that make a firework more of an intense experience, as his hearing is a lot more sensitive than that of a human. Fireworks also give off a particular smell that your dog may be responsive to.  Just as when you are startled by a very loud noise, your dog will experience a similar, startled response. This could bring about an increase in stress hormones, an adrenaline rush and an increased heart rate.

You would probably expect a dog to have a similar experience with a firework as a thunderstorm, but this isn’t the case. A thunderstorm will bring with it high winds and a change in barometric pressure, allowing your dog to anticipate them, just as humans can, but fireworks occur less frequently and are of a more sudden nature, that dogs can feel afraid and intimidated by them.

How to help your dog

If you begin training while still a puppy, exposing him to loud, sudden noises like car horns, thunder and even fireworks, in a positive manner, he will likely be unfazed by loud sounds when he is older. Create a feeling of happiness during fireworks by giving him his special toy or favourite treat. It could create a positive association with the loud noises. Above all, make a safe environment for your dog indoors, where he can feel secure during any firework events. Close all the house windows and play some music to create a diversion.

Stay calm and reassure

One of the most important things to help your dog is to stay calm. Don’t make a big fuss around him and he won’t have reason to panic. Your dog will look to his owner for reassurance, so showing him that you are relaxed and calm is more likely to help your pet to understand that there is no danger present. Take care, look after your dog and other pets and enjoy the Diwali fireworks and celebrations.


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