The ear-splitting burst of crackers may be celebration for humans but on Diwali spare a thought for pets and strays which cringe at the pain that the deafening noise creates, say veterinarians and animal activists.
Families with pets have a tough time tackling their furry friends due to crackers and pollution, which tends to scare and sometimes even traumatise them.
An average human ear can hear sounds between 20 and 20,000 hertz but animals, which totally depend on their senses to survive, perceive sound almost twice that of a human ear. So, just imagine the sound of crackers -- it can almost be deafening for them.
“Pets and homeless animals are at your mercy; so kindly don’t burn loud bombs,” said veterinarian Ajay Sood. “Children should not play pranks by tying crackers to their tails. Also, cats and dogs can burn their whiskers by sniffing the diyas. Keep them indoors and don’t leave them unattended. You can increase the sound of television or radio which they are accustomed to daily. This will help them to be calm during the Diwali celebrations,” Sood suggested.
Homeless animals are the most affected. They go into hiding and only come out once the festivities are over. There have been numerous incidents where children tie crackers to the tails of animals for their source of entertainment, but this is torturous for these helpless beings. “People should be a little considerate and try to avoid loud crackers. Due to Diwali celebrations, cats and dogs don’t even search for food; others suffer burn injuries that go untreated as they have no owners, and open and untreated wounds get infected, causing other severe problems for these homeless animals,” said Swati Tandon, owner of Whatspup, a pet store.
Sachin Bangera, associate director, Celebrity and Public Relations, PETA India, said: “During fireworks displays, many animals become frightened by the loud noises and run away from their homes. The lucky ones end up in animal shelters and are reunited with their families, but others are never found, and some suffer serious injuries or even die as they try to escape the noise.
“One should take care by keeping cats and dogs indoors during fireworks displays and if possible, stay with them.” Even celebrities are rallying for the cause. Actresses Nargis Fakhri and Jacqueline Fernandez have asked their fans to avoid crackers to provide a safe environment for pets, while Anushka Sharma, an ardent dog lover who has a pet labrador named Dude, has urged everyone to celebrate the forthcoming festival of Diwali without noise and fire crackers for the sake of animals.
Through social media campaign “Pawsitive”, the Dil Dhadakne Do actress has encouraged people to reduce the use of crackers, especially in residential areas. Also, keep hospital numbers in visible places so that it is easy to reach out in case of emergency. “Ensure that your supply of pet tranquilizers is ready for some pets are so terrified that they need to be sedated. If there is a burn, wash with running water not ice. Apply a burn cream and try and contact a 24x7 vet hospital,” said Gautam Unny, another veterinarian.
Also, according to Unny, the most common “emergency seen is when pets steal Diwali sweets or drink lots of ghee”! So, don’t forget to keep a close watch!