ROM HEART ATTACK TO PHYSICAL INJURY, ANIMALS HAVE A LOT TO BE SCARED OFBulbul Dhawan TNN
This Diwali, while it’s hoped that the Supreme Court ban on firecrackers would bring some relief to the choking capital, your pet would have a reason to cheer too.
Fireworks impact pets adversely. But just how badly, many pet owners don’t seem to know. Doctors say dogs hiding under beds or biting strangers are usual signs of trauma, but in the worst cases, cracker bursts can also trigger cardiac arrests.
With the cracker ban, veterinarians are hoping that the pets will have an easier Diwali.
Crackers are usually bad news for pets. “We get a lot of animals that have respiratory problems, aggravated by severe pollution. We also spot anxiety issues in them, such as biting domestic helps or strangers. That’s stress,” said Dr Gautam Unny, a vet. He added that burn injuries are also rampant among animals.
If there is the danger of stray crackers for pets or even strays, at times these animals become victims of road accidents. An animal getting run over while darting across the road may be common, but a major cause of this during Diwali happens to be cracker bursts, say doctors.
The noise alone can be fatal. “An aged animal can suffer from heart ailments and also go into cardiac arrest due to the shock from firecrackers,” said Dr Satish Kumar, who works at the government veterinary hospital in Palam.
Animal activist Gauri Maulekhi, who is also a trustee of Union minister Maneka Gandhi’s People for Animals, said shelter homes get animals that run away from homes in a bid to escape the noise. “We also get animals that get injured due to ingesting crackers. Cattle get hurt, as do birds. In fact, birds are forced to fly away from their nests at night due to the noise. They then lose their way and die; their chicks die in their nests,” Maulekhi said.
Doctors also said that animals sometimes stop eating out of fear.
“Only 10-15% of animals actually get conditioned to the noise, and that is because their owners train them to think that it is nothing out of the ordinary, which is not true. It is not something animals should get used to,” said Dr Narendra Gandhi, another vet.
But Unny spotted a silver lining in this: more and more owners are now aware and sensitive to the needs of their pets. They seek advice on how to tide over this crisis on Diwali. Otherwise, it is common for neighbours to complain when dogs bark as they don’t realise where the problem lies, Unny said.
He added that now there are better medicines help the pets. “There are new drugs that you can apply on the back of the dog, which help keep them calm. These are easily available at pet stores and clinics,” Unny said.
Gandhi said it is always good to keep animals indoors when crackers