This year festivals are being celebrated in all their splendor after more than 2 years of the Covid Pandemic. With most restrictions lifted, during the 10 days of non-stop Ganesha festivities, one can count on endless crowds, loudspeakers & a lot of loud, foreign noises for your pet. As the Ganesha Festival continues with vigour, special care of pets should be taken as noise levels in your surroundings are bound to go up, especially during Visarjan. For young pets, this can get both novel and perplexing.
Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated on the anniversary of the day Ganesha was revived in his elephant-headed form. Around this time there is a huge celebration where believers bring Ganesha into their house, or temple, or a Pandal as a guest in the form of an idol. He is worshipped with elaborate rituals for 10 days, so as to invoke his blessings and when his stay is over, the statue is ceremoniously immersed in a water body.
Many pet parents feel that celebrating a festival gets difficult when you’ve got to take care of a dependent member of their family – their pet. How do you do it? How do you enjoy festivities & take care of your pet simultaneously? This blog aims at clarifying many misconceptions, providing some must needed tips on how your pet can enjoy the festivities with devotion, care & frolic.
Soundproof your house
Pets, especially dogs, have very sensitive ears. If your pet has a tendency to get startled, spooked, nervous or anxious easily, then consider soundproofing your house. You can also take steps to temporarily move your pet in a quieter corner of your house. And if you can’t soundproof your house completely, you can put cotton into your pet’s ears to muffle the sounds as much as possible.
“Dogs and cats are very sensitive to noise. During the Ganesha festival, noise levels are very high, especially in cramped localities and this may cause distress to pets. The loud and sudden noise of dhols, loudspeakers & a crowd may cause distress and shock to your pet. Many animals get anxious during this time due to the loud noises. Such an effect can also be seen during thunderstorms,” – Dr. Dr Prashant Salve, Veterinary Doctor, Ambegaon.
Restrict access to Ganesha Idol
Simply put, on such an occasion, pets are curious by nature & not used to having some items, edible or otherwise, around them; and not all these items should be chewed on or ingested by your pet. Metal objects can cause severe toxicity if swallowed. Restrict their access to your Mandir or area where you’ve installed the Ganesha idol. The Pooja spread should be kept kept in a place where your pet cannot reach, specially cats, who tend to climb on furniture.
Take them out before festivities start
Especially in case of a dog, take him out for a long, fun walk or fetch session. The purpose of this exercise is to get every bit of pent-up energy & excitement out of their system. Because when festivities begin, and there’s a crowd gathered in your vicinity, along with loud music & fireworks, it may not be prudent for you to take your pet out then. Out of excess energy, your pet will be too tired to get agitated, panic & hurt himself.
Keep them distracted
Whether it’s playing games, cuddling or keeping them occupied with their favourite toys, it’s important to keep their focus elsewhere other than the noises outside. Festivities often last throughout the day, so if you find yourself unable to take your pet out or if he is getting nervous, agitated, panicky or anxious, keeping him distracted is a great tool to use.
Refrain from using artificial colors on your pet
Refrain from applying colors on your pet. Your pet’s skin is different from yours. Even if the color packet claims to be herbal, refrain. Such artificial colors are loaded with chemicals like zinc, lead & mercury which can adversely affect your pet. They can cause skin allergies or inflammation on your pet’s sensitive skin.
Pro tip: Instead, make your own chemical free & natural colors from Turmeric, Betroot etc & enjoy the festivities with your pet!
Festivals in India can never be complete without oodles of sweets. A variety of sweets are bought, used, eaten & distributed during festivals; however, sugar & sweets are harmful for your pet. They can lead to a host of diseases & medical complications. You may feel sorry for them as they’re the only ones not eating those sweets, but come what may, refrain.
Pro tip: Use your pet’s favourite treats, snacks or peanut butter to make cookies or feed them their favourite treats using using Xylitol and sugar-free peanut butter.
Pro tip: Betel nuts and camphor can be dangerous when ingested. Betel nuts can cause gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite while Camphor may result in neurological symptoms like seizures, which can be fatal.
Leave enough treats & water when going for Visarjan
If you & your family are heading out for Ganesha Visarjan & you’re planning to leave behind your pet, make sure to leave adequate amounts of water in his bowl, treats, one meal & his favourite toys around him. On days like this you never know how long it can take you once you get stuck in a crowd or a traffic jam.
During the Ganesha Visarjan or festivities, do not, under any circumstances, keep your pet outside or let him out unsupervised. Keep all doors & windows closed during processions or Visarjan Yatra or any loud gatherings. Keeping your pet indoors muffles / dampens the noise from outside & would bother them less.
Track your pet for extra caution
In case you have to take your pet out in a crowded setting, advancements in pet monitoring have provided effective tracking options for pet parents. Among a few, you can opt to use a collar with a tracking. However, these methods are rather costly.
It’s cliché but, keep calm!
Despite your best efforts your pet may feel scared, anxious or nervous. Remember, pets mimic their masters. Keep calm to reinforce the importance of staying calm in stressful situations & your pet will imbibe the same habit.
To conclude, festivals in India are always bright, colorful & loud. For your pet, it can be an overwhelming & mesmerising experience. On the other hand, the foreign, loud noises, loudspeakers & instruments can scare your pet.
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