For every one of us, Diwali is a time for joy. We are surrounded by celebrations, sweets, lights, and excitement, with blasts of colourful sparks in the sky.
But it's a time of anxiety, dread, and harm for our furry little friends.
While celebrations call for loud noises, we can see our pets hiding in fear, not eating well, whining a lot, and painfully stressed out from the noise and chaos.
A dog's hearing is three times greater than a human's and the burst of a firecracker can emit up to 190 decibels. Any sound above 75 to 80 decibels can cause havoc to a human ear. So while a blast is loud enough to startle us humans, it is deafeningly loud for our furry friends, including our streeties.
Veterinarians around the country see a massive spike in furry patients, with ailments varying from anxiety and loss of hearing to choking and significant burns.
Bursting crackers also lead to physical hearing damage in our dogs. The explosions cause irreversible hearing loss and tinnitus, due to the proximity to such sudden loud noises. The celebration for them is unpredictable and unknown. For them, this is a season of danger.
Read more: Five ways to help your dog cope with Diwali
You may have noticed your dogs cowering behind large objects, with their tails between their legs once the sounds go off. If they are left alone, there is a huge probability of them running away from home, in search of somewhere safe. They pant, pace, and whine uncontrollably, as they are unable to rationalize their fear. They stop eating food and try to stay in survival mode - even days after the explosions are over. The sudden burst of light can even render them partially blind. Some dogs suffer from loss of bladder control or renal failure. They find these explosions to be traumatizing, and it takes some time for them to feel safe again.
But it's not just dogs that suffer. Cats, birds, and even cattle suffer from chemical exposure, fear, and stress to such an extent that it affects milk production in cows.
Birds get affected by loud noises and pollution. The dust from these explosions is toxic to inhale even for us humans. Birds also tend to abandon their usual nesting places in search of somewhere safe and away from these sounds. They leave behind their homes and baby birds, reducing their survival rate. In fact, birds have fallen to their deaths due to heart attacks caused by loud explosions. They literally were "frightened to death".
And what about us? Fireworks pollute our air with toxic fumes and dust. This carcinogenic dust settles down into the earth, polluting our land and water. We seem to pay a huge price, that could last an entire lifetime and affects every being on the planet, for a few minutes of colorful sky bursts. Is it really worth it?
This Diwali, let's stay true to the festival's sentiment and celebrate with lights. Let's come together as a family and make cheerful, happy noises among ourselves. Let's draw rangolis, make homemade sweets, and deck up our houses to the T. Let's send handmade cards to those friends we haven't seen in ages, or spark a new friendship. Let's get our hands in the mud and make beautiful diyas to diminish all the darkness.
Let's join together to celebrate a joyous Diwali for both ourselves and our furry friends.