Goregaon Highway Pulse wishes you a pet-friendly Diwali 2018. Diwali is just around the corner and with all the festivities around, we often ignore the fact that not everyone around us has a blast – especially the animals and birds.
Loud noises of firecrackers cause immense stress to animals everywhere. While strays are most prone to the harsh side effects of Diwali crackers, littering and air pollution, household pets like dogs, cats and birds also suffer from stress, anxiety and trauma.
I chatted and shared concerns with Dr. Shagufta Abdi, trained at Bombay Veterinary College, Goregaon. She had very useful and wise tips to celebrate a pet-friendly Diwali 2018.
Keep Noise at Bay
First up – just don’t buy and don’t burst firecrackers! The #poochoverpataka campaign by Pawfect Life , a dog-sitting and daycare service in Andheri, Mumbai, says it all.
If your residence is surrounded by firecrackers during Diwali, keep all windows closed at all times. “Pets should be allowed to choose a corner they are most comfortable in”, Dr. Shagufta advises. Dogs generally have a heightened sense of hearing and hence everything is amplified. So if you find the Diwali crackers loud, you can only imagine what your dog must be going through.
Keeping windows closed also reduces risks of rockets shooting in and falling on the floor. That’s not a pet-friendly Diwali at all!
Dog parents should adjust their walk timings to avoid the smog and polluted air. Make sure your pet also drinks sufficient water during these days.
Cats are wilder in nature than dogs. They still experience the same stress and anxiety during Diwali. “Stress could manifest in various ways which could be health-related, skin-related, self-biting or constant itchiness. Cats are not very good at adapting to new environments. When they see things around them that they’re not used to, they get stressed. Although it is very individualistic, I would recommend homeopathic medication to help calm your pets’ anxiety. In extreme cases, even a sedative would help,” says Dr Shagufta.
Bird parents should keep cages away from windows and in a safe corner of the house. Covering the cages with a cloth helps birds feel safe. The idea is the keep them in the dark as birds associate the colours with the noise. So, the less they look outside, the less they’ll get stressed.
Go eco-friendly and stay pet-friendly
Our homes look lovely in Diwali décor with rangolis and bright lights. But it’s important to remember that our pets, especially young kittens and puppies, can easily access these. They could end up licking powder rangolis and ingesting harmful chemicals. Some pets may even be allergic to these colours and skin contact could cause rashes. Try using natural rangoli colours that are eco-friendly and pet-friendly.
Avoid keeping lit diyas in places that pets have easy access to.
Lastly, if you burst crackers yourselves, make sure you clean up the burnt papers, embers, candles, matches, etc., once you are done. You don’t want pets sniffing around these chemical-laden items.
Keep that Mithai away
No matter how much your pet begs you with those cute eyes, Diwali Mithai is a definite no-no. Sugar is extremely harmful for pets.
Not a lot of people know that chocolate is toxic for pets and can even prove to be fatal if consumed in high quantities. “What people don’t realise is that pets could also get diabetes like humans and then have to take insulin shots. You shouldn’t put their lives in danger by introducing sugar into their diet”, Dr. Shagufta warns.
Keep Your Compassion Mode On
Let’s remember to be as compassionate as our pets are. That makes for a pet-friendly Diwali.
“We shouldn’t celebrate at the cost of harming or harassing other species. We need to remember that we live in an ecosystem and need to peacefully co-exist with all”, Dr. Shagufta sums it up.
Let’s not forget to keep an eye on the strays in our area and provide them with all the support they need.
Animal Helplines for emergencies:
Animals Matter To Me (Malad west): Opp Tab Cab Godown, Bungalow 14, Chikuwadi Road, Marve, Malad West
PETA India (Juhu): 9820122602 / 9004547382