Gurugram pet owners advised to stay indoors on Diwali despite restriction on cracker burning
Diwali may be a source of joy but it can be a stressful time for both pets and street animals that are severely affected by the loud noise of crackers. With restrictions on cracker-burning in place, animal lovers hope they might have a less troubled Diwali this year.
They are, however, taking pre-emptive measures to ensure that animals are least disturbed if crackers are burst. Animals can have a harrowing time dealing with noises of firecrackers that often manifests in restlessness, shivering, and reduced appetite. Experts said that animals react strongly to loud noises due to their sensitive hearing skills.
“Animals demonstrate changed behaviour during Diwali. They are affected by the loud noises and stop eating. Further, some animals may also start vomiting and show symptoms of diarrhoea or have epileptic episodes. Crackers and other stimuli from the environment trigger these epileptic episodes,” said BM Yadav, a veterinary doctor who runs a private clinic in sector 50.
Yadav said that it was crucial that pet owners visited doctors if their pets showed signs of distress.
“Dogs who show seizures or epileptic episodes should be given a regular dose of weekly medicines. The dosage can be increased during Diwali. Further, all pet owners should keep their pets in a calm environment,” he added.
Most residents with pets have plans of staying indoors with their pets to help them tide over the impact of noise pollution.
Nadir Khan, who feeds stray dogs and lives with four other dogs, said that animals faced the risk of running into trouble during Diwali. To offset the effect of noise, Khan has plans to stay indoors with his dogs.
“Animals like cats, dogs, and even bovine get affected by noise. Some try to hide as a coping mechanism, while others get distressed and disoriented. They can even run into traffic accidents in a state of despair. Animals like dogs are territorial and can get into trouble when they escape into a new territory. We will keep our doors shut and stay with our dogs so that their attention is diverted,” said Khan, resident of sector 57.
Shikha Jain, resident of South City-I and owner of an American Cocker Spaniel, said that while staying indoors was an option, pet boarding services were another option for those with travel plans.
“Dogs can get upset during the festival season. Cracker-burning can be very scary for them. A few years back, we spent Diwali outside the town and got our dog admitted to a pet boarding facility where they tried to make the environment soundproof. This year, however, I will stay indoors and try to pacify my dog,” said Jain.
Vipul Agrahari, initiator of a pet boarding facility, said that more client requests are received during the festival season. “Dogs can get really troubled due to burning of crackers. Some of them become anxious and may almost reach the brink of a nervous breakdown. I try to ensure that high-decibel noise doesn’t penetrate our walls,” he added.
Vandana Grover, resident of Jalvayu Vihar, dreads Diwali every year. The festival, she said, comes with a week of trauma for her five cats. “My cats hide in the cupboard due to fear. They are scared and stop eating due to which their restlessness is exacerbated. Sometimes, one of them starts crying and gradually others also join in the chorus,” said Grover.
While she is planning to stay indoors with her cats, there is little that can be done about the smell of cracker burning. “Animals are affected both by the sounds and smells. We keep our doors shut but the smell of fire crackers hangs in the air for a long time and makes animals fearful,” said Grover.
Along with pets, community animals face similar challenges. Expressing concern about community animals, Grover said, “People tend to attach crackers to the tails of animal and trouble them. These animals are the worst-affected since they can go nowhere.”