While Diwali might be a time of joyous festivities and celebration for you, it can be quite stressful for dogs. Loud noises, smoke and flickering lights tend to cause dogs a lot of confusion and anxiety. And while your pet has you to protect and care for it, there are countless stray dogs in the streets that will have to battle these effects by themselves.
For dogs, especially strays, firecrackers prove to be the main cause for concern. The loud sounds startle and frighten them, the flickering lights cause anxiety and the smoke can make them dizzy, make it difficult for them to see clearly and if inhaled, it can even cause damage to their lungs. During this time, stray dogs are even prone to burns and accidental injuries.
Strays need a helping hand, especially during the festive season, and you can definitely do your bit as suggested below…
Encourage a ‘No Firecrackers’ policy
There are plenty of ways to celebrate an illuminated Diwali without bursting firecrackers. Depending on where you live, you can urge the people in your apartment complex, your neighbours as well as people in surrounding areas to use different means. If it is unavoidable, try to demarcate a certain area where firecrackers can be lit, one that is at a distance from where strays usually wander.
Try to give strays shelter
Now, it is impossible to bring every stray dog on the street into your home. However, with prior permission, you could try to bring them into your building. If you have a private backyard, garden or garage, you could also give stray dogs a space where they can feel safe and protected.
Feed them and keep them hydrated
Stray dogs have a hard time fending for themselves as is. To alleviate some discomfort during these stressful times, give them food and place fresh drinking water by their side. Feeding stray dogs is a noble service, as they do not have anyone to look out for them. Besides Diwali, stray dogs are met with many adversities during situations like the recent pandemic, floods, storms, etc. that can cause them severe distress. Therefore, this is one practise that you can continue even when the festivities have come to an end.
Make sure to clean up
Stray dogs have a habit of chewing on bits of scrap that they find on the streets. To keep them from ingesting toxic and hazardous waste that is left behind from bursting crackers, you must make sure to clean up after. If they are still burning or fuming, it can cause very serious injuries to them. Besides this, also make sure to check for loose electric wires to keep them safe from getting entangled or electrocuted.
Keep important contacts handy
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a stray could get bruised or injured. To ensure quick and timely action if such a situation occurs, it is important to keep the numbers of NGOs, local authorities and vets at hand.
Diwali is the celebration of the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. You have the power to conquer various issues to protect the strays, be their light in dark times and spread the word to make this world a better place for each one of your furry friends in the streets!