Diwali is a difficult time for pets and owners with missing pets being highest at this time. Dog-lovers Nithya Pari and Kavin Arasu who founded a lost and found pets website in Chennai summarise the tips that can get you and your furry friend through the festivities, safe and sound.
No tag? Get one now: Your dog must have a tag attached to his collar bearing your name and mobile number engraved in metal. Make sure you get this done before the season begins so missing pets can be retraced and returned to owners. Information on getting inexpensive engraved tags is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep doors and windows closed as far as possible.
The biggest mistake would be to tie a dog outside the house when the cracker-bursting is on – he will almost certainly break away from his leash and run away. This happens to several pets every year.
When your pet takes refuge under a blanket or couch, let him be. Well-meaning owners might lavish a trembling pet with extra attention but this might compound his fear. Act normal and let your pet take a cue from you on how to respond.
Owners taking turns to stay home with the pet is a good safety measure that also reduces anxiety.
Fireworks must never be burst in front of your pet. It is dangerous to allow them in the vicinity of crackers – many pets succumb to injuries after picking up lit crackers (thought of as non-starters) that explode seconds later. Get rid of all the waste and ensure that the pet never has access to crackers in storage or those that remain after the session.
Watch out for abuse: If you spot a homeless pet being harassed (fireworks being tied to tails, etc), rescue the animal and report the abuser to authorities.
Take them for walks before or after peak firework time. If they mess up the house in fear, don't punish or scold them. Try soft music to soothe their frayed nerves.
(The authors maintain a list of lost and found pets in Chennai at www.lostnfoundpets.tk)
HERO OF THE WEEK Prabha Varadarajan nominates Kesavan for rescuing a two-month-old handicapped puppy that was abandoned on account of its disability.