Pet care during the cracker season

Pet care during the cracker season

People go to extra lengths to comfort their furry friends on Deepavali. They share tips

Prachi Pendurkar with her twins Vibha and Viaan and their pets.

The season of Deepavali with all its loud crackers can be a testing time for animals. Pet parents in the city tell Metrolife how they help their furry buddies cope with the nuisance.

Prachi Pendurkar, resident of Chikka Tirupathi, is a pet parent to two cats and dogs.

Cats are more sensitive and more alert to changes than dogs who adapt a bit more easily, she has observed. “We will be with them a lot on those days,” she says. For dogs, food is a comfort factor. “We will prep up some treats to comfort them. However, cats find their own cosy corners to hide in, and letting them be is the best way out,” she says.

Sandhya Madappa, president-trustee of CUPA, advices pet parents to not take their dogs out for walk, when crackers are being burst.

“Change the timings for walks to afternoons. Dogs could get scared, run away and get lost. Make sure they are secure and inside the house,” she says.

Mind-calming tablets (in homoeopathy and Ayurveda) are available for pets. “Consult with your veterinarian before you do this. These tablets can help them relax and sleep.”

Sudha Narayan
with Sam.

Sudha Narayanan, founder of Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre (CARE), Yelahanka, which houses 85 dogs, seven cats, and guinea pigs, rabbits, among other animals, says Deepavali can be a testing time for animals.

At the centre, she makes sure caretakers are around for the animals. “For dogs who are inside cages and rooms, we make it darker and more comfortable. We give some mind-calming tablets,” Sudha says.

For those owning guinea pigs, it’s best to find or build them hiding holes. “If they are in a cage, you could place a cloth over it, so that it gets as dark as possible,” she says. Sudha, a resident of RT Nagar, owns three cats — Jasmine, Poppy and Sam, and keeping them indoors is the only solution. “We just make sure that they do not step out for anything. I spend a lot of time speaking to them and soothing them,” she says.

‘Don’t overcompensate’

Yasmine Claire, a resident of Ulsoor, has 10 dogs and 12 cats. “We don’t go out on a holiday during this season as they get distressed. Having a safe, dark room for them is the best option. Spaces where the cats can go undercover work well. Place a comfortable rug under the bed,” she says.

It is important that pet parents don’t overcompensate for the chaos outside. “Overreacting to every loud boom outside can make them think that what they are feeling is actually terrible. Carry on with your schedule with them, be around and play some Western or classical instrumental music for them,” she says. Doors and windows must be kept closed to reduce the noise and avoid smoke.

Latha KR with Adithya and Anushka
and their Persian cat Kittu.

‘Watching cartoons’

Latha KR, resident of Gottigere, owns a Persian cat, Kittu. She notes that dogs and cats behave differently when they are scared. 

“When a dog gets scared, it wants to be hugged and calmed down, while cats mostly run away when they are afraid. Thus, keeping escape gates closed is important,” she says.

She plans to feed Kittu earlier on Deepavali day, so that she doesn’t skip a meal, if she gets anxious. “She loves watching cartoons with my son Adithya and daughter Anushka. Her favourite is funnily ‘Tom and Jerry’, and so I plan to play cartoons then, so that she is distracted,” says Latha. Kittu also has a cosy bed-like setup where she hides, which Latha plans to keep comfortable and ready.

‘Create responsible neighbourhoods’

Sudha Narayanan has requested the neighbourhood to not burst crackers as it would affect the animals. “The dogs could jump the fence and hurt themselves, and we have explained the possible situations to people around. They have been cooperative,” she says. Prachi Pendurkar says that the best way to handle such situations is to request communities to have open and dedicated areas to burst crackers.

“Creating responsible neighbourhoods is the need of the hour too,” she adds. Sandhya Madappa says most dogs are scared of crackers as their hearing is acute. “Even the slightest sound gets to them. The best solution is not to burst any crackers,” she says. Sandhya doesn’t burst them and requests others’ too.

“If all animal lovers avoid bursting crackers, that itself could make a significant change. Lighting some lamps or sticking to soundless crackers, is reasonable,” she says. Also, awareness about not harming stray dogs must be created, she adds.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox