by The Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Not everyone has fun during Diwali. Babies and people with breathing problems, heart problems and high blood pressure are the worst affected during this festive season. But discomfort is not limited to humans alone—Diwali is also very tough on animals like dogs. One of the main reasons for a dog’s trauma is its super hearing ability—it is seven times that of humans. Certain frequencies of sound register 40 times louder in dogs than they would in humans. In fact, experts say that the bang of a firecracker is so loud that it could cause a heart attack in a dog.
For those thousands of stray dogs on the streets of India, the festive season is no less than an apocalypse. The atrocities kids subject them to for their own "fun” leave them burned, grievously injured and sometimes limbless. Even birds and rodents are affected during Diwali since their senses are sharper than those of humans. Apart from the noise, the light and colour can also be frightening and chaotic for animals.
As any animal owner will testify, fireworks terrify animals. Commonly seen signs of stress include trembling, excessive drooling, howling and refusing to eat food. Some animals may get so nervous that they lose bladder or bowel control and can experience temporary diarrhoea too.
During Diwali, pets run to comfortable hiding places. If your pet hides in a closed place like under the sofa or bed, do not drag him/ her out. In fact, you can buy a thunder blanket, which gives your pet a sense of safety. It is also a good idea to feed your pet an hour or two before sunset (or the time when crackers are lit) as it might be difficult to pull them out once they have hidden under the sofa.
While we can take many precautions for our pets at home, stray animals around our house also need to be kept safe. This Diwali, follow these tips and keep them safe:
- Do not tease stray animals by tying crackers onto their tails. If you see anyone doing this, make them STOP!
- Do not let anyone throw lit crackers on/ at them. Make sure that crackers are lit away from animals.
- When startled or scared, animals may run into the traffic and get injured. If you see injured animals, do bring it to the notice of local/ concerned authorities.
- Help animals on the road and give them food and water.
- Volunteer with a shelter or home for stray animals and help them with any emergencies.