The first Diwali risk is pets going missing (when they run away in fear). “We see dozens of reports of pets going missing, at this time of year,” says the official Facebook page of Blue Cross. The volunteers strongly recommend engraving your mobile number on your dog’s collar, or better yet, adding a pendant with his name and your number before the festivities peak. They caution owners against leaving dogs unattended even for short periods of time. This means no tying them outside houses, and not giving them free access to common areas where an accidentally unlocked gate could result in a lot of grief.

Animal behaviour consultants encourage owners to use these calming tactics when the noise levels are high. One method is to keep the pet in a closed room with soft music playing (with their favourite treats and a bowl of water) and to have the family take turns giving him company. If your dog hides under a sofa, let him be. Forcing him out causes more stress. For cats, sealing off exits and putting out a litter-box (use a non-scented variety) is ideal.

Never burst crackers in front of pets and do not allow them in any common area (terraces, walkways) where crackers are being burst. Once the cracker session is over, ensure that the fireworks are put out and disposed of safely as many pets have been grievously wounded or killed while picking up crackers that failed to go off when lit. At home, ensure that toxic crackers are out of reach of curious paws. Cats and dogs tend to take refuge under vehicles (kittens often curl up on tyres), so make sure you check these areas before starting your car.

If you live in an apartment complex, petition to the resident community to ban fireworks and to light lamps instead — this protects the interests of animals, birds, infants, asthmatics and senior citizens, all of whom are affected by the noise and smoke. Lastly, if you see an act of cruelty or an accidental injury, report the issue to an animal rescue group or veterinarian immediately.