When kids ask, ‘why do we celebrate Diwali?’, we say- ‘this was the day when Ram returned to his kingdom after 14 years of exile. Today we celebrate the victory of good over evil.’ As we say it, we know that this is a rehearsed response- something we all read in school. We gulp down the truth- the nasty evil truth.
Every Diwali, there is a rise in the number of animal abuse cases. Most pet pages on social media are flooded with ‘lost pet’ posts. So clearly, we are doing something wrong here… By bursting loud crackers and spreading toxic waste, we forget the true purpose of Diwali. We forget that Diwali represents peace, happiness, kindness and more importantly respect.
So, we thought of putting together a few tips that will keep your dogs safe this Diwali, respected and loved.
Most pets are restless during Diwali and the only way to relax them (at least a little), is to make sure they have relieved themselves and have eaten dinner. Avoid taking them out when the sky is covered with crackers. It is better to take them out a little earlier when it is peaceful outside so they can do their thing.
Make sure they have enough access to water. Some experts say that, peaceful music calms your pet- as it does with humans. So, keep your doors and windows shut and try to play some soothing music.
Provide a safe place
Many debates revolve around kennel training. We say, that if it is done the right way, it can provide a safe place for your dog. Make sure the doors are open so that s/he can come and go as they please. You can also cover the top of the kennel with a thin cotton cloth to make them feel hidden and safe.
If you don’t have a kennel, be sure to give them ready access to any comforting spot of their choice. You can make ‘their spot’ more inviting by covering it up slightly. Also, keep their water close to the place they have perched themselves in.
Diwali may not be the ideal time for play but the consistent crackers make some high energy dogs destructive. They may chew your furniture, dig a hole into your bed, crack your T.V.- you name it! They aren’t trying to be bad, rather, they are just venting out their frustration. So, instead of scolding them or tying them up, try to engage them in games. If your dog knows how to play fetch, there is nothing like it. You can engage them in a game of fetch inside the house. Other games like tug of war not only helps channelize their energy to something positive, but, it also strengthens the bond that you have with your pooch.
Diwali does not end with the last cracker. As pet owners and animal lovers, we dread the following morning. Inside we have a frustrated dog that wants to go out and outside there is a pool of toxic waste waiting for us.
Please take precaution as some residues, from the crackers, can be fatal for your dog. If you have a curious dog provide them with humane muzzles. You can also buy them special shoes (if they let you put it on them). Keep them on a tight leash before and after Diwali because the strange smells and loud noises can be very distracting. As mentioned earlier, this is the time when many pets go missing, so please be careful.
Lastly – our sweet streeties
We could not leave this list without them! Your pets will be safe in your house with treats, toys and you, but street animals struggle to survive our ‘prosperous’ Diwali nights. According to a newspaper article issued by The Hindu, 60 pigeons died on Diwali in 2015- Hyderabad.
If you provide for animals near your area, try to issue special collars with your phone number and/or address. In case if s/he runs from the area out of fear, another fellow citizen can inform you of the displaced dog with the help of the collar.
This Diwali let’s celebrate the good by being good. By lending a hand to our furry buddies we will shine brighter than the brightest firecracker.