NEW DELHI (October 23, 2014) -
Time of the year again for Indians to indulge in the festival of light and fireworks. Whilst Diwali celebrations can be great fun for people, pets can be left trembling, shaking, barking more 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 and around our neighborhood.”
Take precaution 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.
Media contacts: Navamita Mukherjee, (0)998547276, nmukherjee@hsi,org
Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — on the Web at hsi.org<http://www.hsi.org/>.