Make this Diwali a happy one for animals too: HSI India

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The high decibel of firecrackers hurt the ears of animals as well as birds. Photo: Monika Chodak / Shutterstock
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Mumbai: Diwali is one of the most celebrated festivals in India but is also one that brings a lot of trauma for animals due to the noise of the firecrackers. With Diwali being at the door step, Humane Society International/India is urging everyone to celebrate Diwali a noise-free and animal-friendly Diwali.

Every year as we celebrate, thousands of animals and birds are left frightened because of the noise of crackers. The high decibel of firecrackers hurt the ears of animals as well as birds. Since animals have a far more acute sense of hearing than ours, the noise of crackers has a terrifying effect on animals. Not just sound, but light and smoke emitted by crackers also disturb these birds and animals. Animal shelters witness a tremendous increase in the number of runaway and lost pets, who are scared, anxious, nervous, and often burnt.

Alokparna Sengupta, managing director HSI/ India said, “This year has been a struggle for both humans and animals alike. However, with Diwali around the corner and the mood upbeat, we urge everyone to celebrate the festival of light as it is meant to be celebrated – with lamps and lights and not loud firecrackers. Given the situation we are in, it would also be prudent to not burst firecrackers to protect our health and the environment. Make this festival a happy one by not bursting crackers or simply choosing sparklers.”

For those wondering how to let animals spend a happy Diwali, HSI India has some ‘sound’ advice.

Take precautions by following these simple tips:

» Keep your pets indoors and in a familiar room. Pets have a heightened sense of hearing, so the jolts and loud noises cause many animals to flee in search of safe haven. Switch on calming music or television if possible

» Keep all doors and windows closed and draw the curtains to reduce the noise. Supply pets with enough food and water and ensure someone can stay with them to comfort them.

» Urge people to avoid or to burst crackers which emit less smoke and does not create much noise.

» Store fireworks safely in a closed box, somewhere cool and dry, and out of reach of pets. Do not keep fireworks containers under stairs or exposed in passages.

» Decorate with lights, lamps and diyas that are friendlier to the environment and animals by giving off less smoke and noise.

» Refrain from bursting crackers near an animal shelter or zoo. Noise can cause panic and fear. Pollution from burning firecrackers is also harmful to their health.

» Take dogs for a walk during the daytime before the celebrations begin. Never walk them near where others are lighting firecrackers.

» Consult a veterinarian if your pets are prone to acute anxiety or distress from loud noises and medicate with anti - anxiety or calmant, if necessary (only on vet prescription). Check their availability during Diwali in case of emergency.

» Ensure pets are wearing collars and identification tags with current contact information. All pets, even those kept indoors, should always wear collars with identification tags.

» If you feed street animals around your neighbourhood, make sure that they are wearing tags labelled with their names and your phone numbers. Provide them shelter in an area where they may be safe from the firecrackers and the noise

» Make a first aid kit in preparation for helping injured animals. Have a bucket full of water handy for emergency and for putting used sparklers into.

» Keep contact information for local municipal corporations and surrounding shelters handy and approach them immediately in case of lost pets. If you find a lost pet, either take her to the address on the tag or a local animal shelter.

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