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October 30, 2013

Tips to Keep Pets Safe During Diwali

Humane Society International/India

  • Help ensure that the Festival of Lights is a safe one for all pets. iStock

NEW DELHI — It’s nearly time for Diwali and fireworks night again. Whilst the celebrations can be great fun for people, pets can be left stressed out, confused and injured by fireworks. Light, noise and color can be frightening and chaotic for animals. Thousands of animals suffer burns every year from firecrackers. Moreover, animal shelters report a dramatic increase in pets lost during the commotion of the celebration.

“Loud fireworks displays cause noise, which can be stressful for our pets,” says N. G Jayasimha, Humane Society International/India managing director. “It’s best to choose small crackers and ensure a safe Diwali for our furry friends at home.”

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 pets are prone to acute anxiety or distress from loud noises. Check their availability during Diwali in case of emergency.
  • If you feed stray animals around your neighborhood, make sure that they are wearing tags labeled with their names and your phone numbers. In case they run away because of the merry-making, people who find them will be able to contact you.
  • 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.
  • Ensure pets are wearing collars and identification tags with current contact information. All pets, even those kept indoors, should wear collars with identification tags at all times.
  • Keep contact information for local municipal corporations and surrounding shelters handy and approach them immediately in cases 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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Media contacts: N.G. Jayasimha, (0)9490732614, ngjayasimha@hsi.org