How to Celebrate a Pet-Friendly Diwali with Your Dog or Cat
Regardless of how tough the year has been, the sights and sounds of Diwali always make things lighter. The love and good cheer in the atmosphere diminishes sorrows and manages to rekindle hope in the hearts of even the most seasoned cynics. Diwali is a celebration of life and all the good that it has to offer, it is a time for togetherness and bonding.
But what are festivals without our family and loved ones? For pet parents, our family includes our dogs and cats. But we often forget that some of our festivals, such as Diwali may cause extreme discomfort to our furry family. While we’re busy enjoying the festivities, our dogs and cats often spend their time hiding in furniture, closets, or anything else they could fit under/into.
The Diwali week often triggers extreme behavioral changes in pets and homeless stray animals. These may include fear, aggression, anxiety, etc. They’re scared, confused and often in a lot of stress and pain. Some run and hide, some bark, while some others stop eating. Often the results continue until much after the festival. Breeds with shorter snouts are susceptible to severe respiratory issues during the period. Several dogs go missing and some owners never succeed in tracking down their much-loved pets.
As for homeless dogs, when firecrackers are lit on the streets, they go into hiding, venturing out only after the celebrations are over. In the process, they lose a chance to search for food and often go hungry for several days. Those with newborn litters might lose them to the fireworks when the young ones scamper away. Many are injured due to firecrackers, others come under moving cars and vehicles while running in panic.
Diwali is difficult for dawgies. Dogs can hear the explosions several times louder and smell the smoke hundreds of times stronger than us. If you’ve ever been baffled by the extreme noise of a firecracker or choked at its smoke, image what your dogs go through.
Diwali should be about joy, people coming together in celebration. Not about troubled breathing, and one-upmanship on how much money we can send up in smoke. So why not pledge for a pet-friendly Diwali this year?
Here are 7 ways you can enjoy a safe and happy Diwali with your furry baby:
Firecrackers are NOT for Dogs
Diwali has always been the festival of lights, never of incessant noise and smoke. Pledge to celebrate it without firecrackers this year and educate others against them. Help the planet and its inhabitants breathe. Celebrate a cracker-free Diwali!
For those who still wish to indulge, must do so in designated areas away from dogs and other animals. Store firecrackers and other Diwali items (decorations, candles, lighting, etc.) at a safe place in the home; where your dog or cat cannot accidentally chew or lick them. Needless to say, your pet must NEVER partake in burning firecrackers.
Doggos Gotta Feel Safe
Your pet needs you in this time of distress. He’s feeling vulnerable and scared, and he needs you to comfort him. Keep your dog or cat indoors and around you at all times. Make them feel safe from loud noises and smoke.
Constantly comfort your pet and reassure them that they’re out of harm’s way. Do NOT leave them alone and NEVER scold them for being scared. Pet them, cuddle them, love them. They deserve all of you at this time!
Avoid giving anti-anxiety or calming drugs to your pets. They have long-term implications for your pet’s neurological system. Never give these drugs to the homeless dogs, their senses help them stay alive in the stray.
Kill the Noise!
Use the television or loud music to muffle the noise outside. Buy a pair of earmuffs or cover your pet’s ears with a heavy towel or bedsheet during fireworks.
It’s a good idea to take your dog for a walk during the day before the chaos begins.
Good Food Can Fix Everything
Dogs undergo a lot of stress during Diwali. A bowl of your pet’s favorite food will help reduce stress and anxiety a bit.
Those that have finished a tub of ice cream or an entire pizza alone, would agree that good food can solve many (read: all) problems. You don’t have to let your dog or cat finish an ice cream tub or a pizza, but he surely deserves some of his favorite delicacies. Watch out for calories though. Stress-eating under an already receded activity could quickly lead to overfeeding and obesity.
Pets Need No Sugar. They’re Already Sweet!
Festivals are incomplete without sweets. But your furry baby should not indulge in their consumption. Unless they’re pet-friendly sweets or treats.
It Never Hurts to be Kind!
Be kind, not only to your pet but to other animals on the street. Offer them food, clean water, and safe shelter to rest during the festival.
Do not burn firecrackers near them, and stop anyone from doing so. Repeat: Never give sedatives or anti-anxiety drugs to homeless dogs.
Keep first-aid preparations for fellow humans and animals. Be vigilant and report any abuse or injuries to the helpline numbers given below.
With these simple measures, you can ensure a safe and happy festival with your entire family. From all of us at DawgieBowl, here’s wishing you a happy, prosperous, safe and pet-friendly Diwali. Paw-five!
Animal Helpline Numbers (Delhi-NCR)
Friendicoes: 011 24320707/ 011 24320303/ 011 24314787
PAWS (Masoodpur, Vasant Kunj, South Delhi): 98100 36254; 011 2689 5737
Animal India Trust (Lajpat Nagar, South Delhi): 93138 84347, 98112 52592; 011-5566 9924
Sonadi Charitable Trust (Najafgarh): 011- 26275216, 92121 31218
Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, Raja Garden: 011 2544 8062
People for Animals – PFA Delhi Headquarters, Delhi: 011-2335 5883, 2335 7088, 2335 9241
Got stories or pictures from your pet’s last Diwali? Post them in the comments below.
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