Diwali 2016: How to keep dogs, cats stress-free this festive season
Diwali 2016: How to keep dogs, cats stress-free this festive season. Pictured: A dog walks the runway during a dog fashion show.IANS

Diwali is round the corner and people across the country are eagerly waiting to celebrate it with their family and friends. While many look forward to bursting crackers during the festival, it is often dreadful to our furry friends.

Animals, especially dogs with their powerful sensory organs, have a better sense of hearing than humans. So, the sudden change in the environment, like the loud noise of firecrackers and smoke, tend to disturb them. They often hide in some corners of the house during Diwali.

Although every year good Samaritans raise awareness about a noise-free, eco-friendly Diwali, firecrackers find their way almost anywhere – streets, footpaths and terraces. Homeless animals suffer more during this festive season, as they have nowhere to turn to.

Unfortunately, many stray dogs end up losing their lives while humans celebrate the festival of lights. Pets are a bit fortunate compared to stray ones, but that doesn't mean they are not disturbed. It is also not uncommon to hear complaints of pet dogs and cats gone missing during Diwali. 

So, this Diwali, let us ensure that we take utmost care of our pets and keep them protected.

Here are a few tips that can help pet-lovers keep their dogs, cats and other animals safe during Diwali:

1) Keep your pet indoors and close the doors and windows to mask sounds and flashes of fireworks

2) Prepare a cosy place for your pets to sleep and don't leave them alone

3) Don't tie your pets as it can hurt them while trying to escape out of fear

4) Take your dog for a walk during the day before the fireworks begin

5) Raise the volume of your television so as to minimise the sound of fireworks

6) Ensure that your pets are wearing identification tags bearing your contact number, in case it runs away out of fear

7) Don't keep your pets on the terrace

8) Feed them with good food. This will help them soothe their fear

9) Don't play with firecrackers near your pets

10) Take care of the homeless animals as well. Provide food and water to stray dogs in your neighbourhood.

Sachin Bangera, associate director of Celebrity and Public Relations, PETA India, gives us a few more tips on how to celebrate a safe Diwali.

For pets:

Sachin Bangera with his pet labrador
Sachin Bangera with his pet LabradorPavitr Saith
  • Remind your friends and neighbours that it's not nice to set off firecrackers or make other loud noises that can frighten animals
  • If your building has a security guard, ask him or her to be on the lookout for cruel people who throw firecrackers at animals or try to hurt them in other ways 
  • Keep an eye on lost companion animals. If you see them, take them to your local animal shelter or look after them until they can be reunited with their families
  • Instead of setting off ear-splitting fireworks, light up your house with animal-friendly diyas, lamps, and other decorative essentials  

For humans:

  • According to one study, asthma cases rise by up to 12 percent during Diwali. Even people who don't normally have asthma can suffer from breathing problems because of the firework particles in the air
  • The Chest Research Foundation in Pune says that burning firecrackers increases the amount of chemicals in the air 200 times the amount that's considered safe by the World Health Organisation
  • Toxic metals used to add colour to fireworks can damage your eyes. There's even evidence that fireworks can further harm people with heart disease