Pet tips for Deepavali

DEEPAVALI CAN seem more like a bombardment than a festive celebration to dogs, cats, cows and other animals, points out the animal welfare organisation, PETA India.

The festive issue of PETA's `Animal Times' advises animal lovers to keep their dogs and cats safe indoors during noisy Deepavali fireworks displays.

Fireworks displays are frightening to animals, which do not realise that explosions are part of entertainment, not bombardment. This is because the hearing threshold of animals is much higher than that of humans.

Says Leela Latif of the city-based People for Animals, "I have noticed that Alsatians especially are very scared of loud noise such as the sound of thunder and crackers. Stray dogs, however, do not seem to bother."

It is pointed out that after fireworks displays, many pet animals run away in fright from their homes. The lucky animals are reunited with their families, but many others are never recovered. Some suffer serious injuries or even die in their effort to escape the noise.

PETA advises that cats and dogs be kept indoors during fireworks displays and if possible, they should be given human company. Protectively, windows should be closed, curtains drawn and a radio or TV turned on to help drown the noise.

Pet-owners should make sure that the animal is wearing a collar and an up-to-date identification tag, just in case it runs away and gets lost. They should intervene if they see youngsters throwing fire-crackers at animals on the streets.

"Be on the lookout for people who tie lighted firecrackers to the tails of dogs and other animals for cruel fun. Such incidents should be promptly reported to the police," says PETA.

Another thing animal lovers could possibly do during Deepavali is keep an eye out for lost companion animals with collars and tags. These animals should be taken to the local shelter or looked after till their home can be found.

"For a change, why not light up your houses with lamps and decorative things that are friendly to all in the true spirit of Deepavali, rather than burst ear-splitting crackers which are dangerous as well as expensive," asks the animal welfare group.

By Harish Govind M.

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