Amid the vibrant festivities that grace our lives, our beloved pets often bear the brunt of the chaos. The heartbreaking sight of quivering dogs and cats struggling to cope with the thunderous firecrackers and revelry is all too common. What can we do to keep animals safe during fireworks?
The distress animals face during fireworks extends far beyond just the noise. Festive seasons introduce a myriad of challenges for our furry companions. The sheer disruption to their routines with the constant inflow of guests can trigger anxiety and stress in dogs. Similarly, cats are also sensitive to loud sounds and can get stressed by fireworks, exhibiting symptoms of distress like hissing, shaking, uncharacteristic aggression and more.
Imagine having your peaceful sanctuary suddenly transformed into a chaotic and unpredictable environment. Our pets don’t need to imagine; they live it.
Festive season stress can extend beyond the festivities themselves. The auditory pain threshold in dogs is approximately 95 decibels, whereas fireworks produce a sound of around 190 decibels. Exposure to loud noises like firecrackers can lead to dogs developing a permanent phobia of loud noises, besides other ailments like uncontrolled drooling, urination, defecation and even epilepsy.
Moreover, the physical risks faced by stray animals, who often find themselves in harm’s way, are a concern that transcends borders. Dogs grapple with more than decibel levels during the festive season. Firecrackers pose a high risk of physical harm, some dogs may lick or chew on the remains of firecrackers or drink contaminated water, which can lead to burns, vomiting, diarrhoea and more.
Familiarize Your Pet with Noise
If your pet hasn’t experienced loud noises like firecrackers before, consider gradual exposure to help them acclimate. You can find recordings of fireworks sounds online and play them at a low volume. Create positive associations with your pet by rewarding it with treats and praise. With free living animals, this is of course more difficult to do. We’ll look into ways we can help our pets as well as our community animals.
Helping our Pets
1. Creating a Safe Haven
The core of ensuring your pet’s safety lies in creating a safe and calming environment which entails more than just closing doors and windows. It involves providing your pet with a sanctuary within your home, away from loud noises and disruptions.
2. Spend Quality Time
Before the fireworks begin, engage in quality playtime and exercise with your pet. Walk your dog well before the crackers are bursting. Exhausted pets are less likely to be anxious and more inclined to rest during the commotion.
3. Calming Treats and Accessories
Calming treats and accessories can be a godsend for those incredibly anxious pets. It is ideal to consult your vet before administering these, and some herbal medication needs a few weeks to show effect, but rest assured, options like treats enriched with hemp seed oil or organic balms can work wonders in soothing your pet’s anxiety. Remember to consider earmuffs for your four-legged friend too.
Helping our Community Dogs
On humanitarian grounds, our compassion should also extend to the free-living animals in our neighbourhood.
- Give extra food and treats to community dogs and cats especially during the festive season, ensuring they, too, find respite from the chaos.
- Herbal anxiety medication is available in the market and can be given inside tasty food. Note that this needs to be given a few weeks before the effect can be noticed. Allopathic tablets work instantly, but always consult a vet before you administer it.
- Collar your community dogs and tag them with their name, area and phone number. Those dogs who are covered by the Stray Buddy program have an online profile with their details uploaded on this website (see section “Communities” for the dog galleries). QR codes can be printed on the collars to link with the online dog records. If the dog gets lost, it can at least be traced back by whoever finds it.
- Be compassionate and provide shelter for community animals, give them a safe place in your porch, staircase or indoors – even if it is only for ONE EVENING. A blanket to be comfortable (the evenings are getting colder in Delhi) or maybe a box, chair or table to hide under.
- Do not touch community animals you are not familiar with, especially when they are scared.
Forget not! Always check underneath your vehicles before driving, as many animals seek refuge beneath them to escape the clamour.
If you find any animal in danger, please call in for vet care or approach an NGO.
This firecracker season, let’s prioritize the well-being of our beloved pets and ensure that our furry friends feel safe and secure while India is lit up with celebration. Let’s celebrate responsibly and ensure our four-legged friends can join the festivities without fear.